Posts Tagged With: Ezekiel

An Attitude Of Bitterness Is No Excuse.


You know it’s been a while I wrote a blog post, when I had to use my password protect app to locate my WordPress username & password to login 😕

So here I am again, with a quick thought taken from my general reading through the book of Ezekiel. Have I ever mentioned that I love the books of Jeremiah & Ezekiel?

Do I understand everything from them? No…..but the more you read, the more God opens your heart to his Word.

As I read through Chapter 3 of Ezekiel, the verses 12-17 stood out to me. In these verses, you get a glimpse of the attitude of the prophet Ezekiel! Drawing in the immediate context of what is going on at this period, we understand that the captivity of Judah had already taken place; Nebuchadnezzar has besieged Judah & rounded up the choice men & women for Babylon. King Jehoiachin who was the king of Judah at the time, was also taken to captivity, Nebuchadnezzar instilled Zedekiah as the last king of the remnants of Judah. (2Kings 24:10-15)

Ezekiel who was one of the captives of Judah is called of God to be a prophet as he & the captives are dwelling at the river Chebar in the land of Babylon (Ezekiel 1:1-3)

​Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river of Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God. In the fifth day of the month, which was the fifth year of king Jehoiachin’s captivity, The word of the Lord came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the Lord was there upon him. Ezekiel 1:1-3

The commands of God to Ezekiel are clear,

1: Go preach to my people

2: Warn them to turn back to me

3: Tell them I have not forgotten them

4: Warn other nations of my judgments

Now prior to Ezekiel leaving to preach to the remnant of those captive, this is what is said of Ezekiel in terms of his attitude to the command of God “So the spirit lifted me up, and took me away, and I went in bitterness, in the heat of my spirit; but the hand of the Lord was strong upon me.” Ezekiel 3:14

Now bare in mind, Ezekiel had lived through some of the rebellious years of Judah, & grew up during the reign of King Josiah to Jehoiachin, so he had legitimate reason to be upset with his people for how they had disobeyed God.

Let’s not forget also that God makes it clear to Ezekiel that whilst he will have the ears of the people, they WILL not listen to him “But the house of Israel will not hearken unto thee; for they will not hearken unto me: for all the house of Israel are impudent and hardhearted.” Ezekiel 3:7

So Ezekiel was aggrieved & bitter in his spirit towards the people, but the Spirit of God was still strong on him as he took him to the captives. Showing that Ezekiel had a heart of obedience, even though he himself did not particularly like the task at hand, nevertheless he obeyed God.

Now whilst Ezekiel left in bitterness & anger to the people, his attitude changed during a period of 7 days as he sat amongst them “Then I came to them of the captivity at Telabib, that dwelt by the river of Chebar, and I sat where they sat, and remained there astonished among them seven days. Ezekiel 3:15

Ezekiel, once he had been amongst the remnant, no doubt seeing the state in which the people were in, his heart softened to the cause. This reminds me of Christ’s surmisings & compassion he had for the people in Matthew 9:36 that they were scattered like sheep with no shepherd.

But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.” – Matthew 9:36

Ezekiel would go on for 48 huge chapters obeying God, sometimes undertaking some of the most difficult tasks God had ever given to man, solidifying himself as a great prophet of God & a giant of the faith, but that was not how he started.

All of this to say this one simple fact; sometimes God calls us to obey him, when we may have our own reservations as to why we should not. Maybe a past hurt, or fear, past disappointments, disillusionment, doubts, inadequacy etc but regardless if we have these thoughts, just like Ezekiel, it should not stop us from obeying the command of God, in whatever capacity God has called us to. God doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the called. Amen

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It’s Worse Than You Think!

 

Solomon's TempleAnyone who has read the book of Ezekiel will know that it is filled with imagery and symbolism! With Israel already decimated by the Assyrians, Judah’s judgment was coming swiftly! The hot hand of God had been stayed by the deeds of some righteous kings of Judah like Josiah in the past, but like a huge blue plaster across a bursting dam, the flood was coming…..and it came without mercy. The Babylonians overthrew Jerusalem and Judah in a matter of years.

Whilst all this is going on, we are introduced to Ezekiel the son of Buzi, gathered with the captives of Judah along the river Chebar. God makes his presence known to Ezekiel, and what then ensues are fascinating encounters between God and his chosen servant Ezekiel. I implore everyone to read Ezekiel, not only for the sake of just reading God’s Word, but also for the understanding of the ways in which God works, and the absolute execution of his perfect will. If God has spoken it, then IT WILL COME TO PASS!

For me, chapter 8 is one of my favourite chapters of the book, and one that I draw my title from for this blog post. It describes a visionary encounter with Ezekiel and God, as he lifts Ezekiel up by lock of his hair and take him by visions to Jerusalem, to see the abominations that are being carried out in the temple by the priests and princes of the city.

The candid expose on the idolatry and rank immorality of the elders in Jerusalem is startling, and one of the most vivid descriptions ever recorded in the Word of God.

As I read this chapter and highlighted key verses, a statement stood out to me that God repeats 3 times to Ezekiel and it’s this; “but turn thee yet again, and thou shalt see greater abominations

Just as I was coming to the conclusion that it could not get worse for Jerusalem, and the downward spiral of sin could not go another spiral, God brings the message home to me; “It’s worse than you think

This statement got me thinking, and I wondered in myself how many times I don’t see sin the way God see’s sin. Me who on a weekly basis trawls through this world, going about my business fail sometimes to see sin for what it is. The conditioning we so readily accept from the standards set by the world makes it difficult to stand back with subjective eyes and mourn at the state of affairs.

I think of when God by visions lifts Ezekiel high in the sky in chapter 8, and gives him a birds eye view of Jerusalem, a God’s eye view of Jerusalem I should say. It is almost the implication that God wanted Ezekiel to see what he see’s. This is not just a rebellious people, oh no, in God’s eyes these were stiff-necked people of the basest level.

With so much filth we pick up in the world, it is imperative that on a weekly basis, we remember to wash our hearts and minds daily in the Word of God, After all, if we are to reach the lost, we have to see the situation from God’s perspectives. This is a lost and dying world, not a world of redeeming quality, we as sinners are only saved by the grace of God, so let us share the good news, since there is no redeeming quality in ourselves, but only in the Redeemer who has purchased us with his blood.

I wrote all of this to bring to remembrance that sin is worse than we think sometimes, and because it is, there is a real hell for the punishment of sin. We have to reach out to our fellow man and warn them of the dangers of coming judgment, like Ezekiel did, and show them the way to the one who cane save their souls. May we always have fresh perspectives on the great mission that lies ahead for all believers. We are all responsible for carrying out the Great Commission.

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