Ezekiel was a prophet to the Jews, and with the Jews while in captivity. He was taken to Babylon in the second deportation.
Warren Wiersbe, “While Jeremiah was ministering to the people in Judah, Ezekiel was ministering to the exiles in Babylon. He was taken to Babylon in 597 B.C. with the second deportation; and five years later, he received his call to ministry (592 B.C.). Like Jeremiah, he was a priest who was called to be a prophet; and also like Jeremiah, he preached action sermons that caught the attention of the people.”
Ezekiel was younger than Jeremiah, but preached the same message among the exiles that Jeremiah was preaching in Jerusalem – the certainty of God’s judgment upon Judah. I wonder if the two ever crossed paths.
Pastor Chuck Smith, “During the time of Ezekiel many false prophets predicted that Jerusalem would not be destroyed and that the captives would soon return to the land. The people held out hope that this captivity would be short-lived, but both Ezekiel and Jeremiah predicted a long captivity and tried to prepare God’s people for that future.”
By the time Ezekiel arrived in Babylon, Daniel had been there at least 8 years and had risen to great prominence in the kingdom. Daniel ministered in the capital city of Babylon, in the palace, while Ezekiel was out in the country.
Warren Wiersbe, “There are four sections to the book: (1) God’s call of Ezekiel (chaps. 1–3); (2) God’s judgment on Jerusalem (chaps. 4–24); (3) God’s judgment on the nations (chaps. 25–32); and (4) God’s restoration of His people (chaps. 33–48).”
A phrase we find throughout the Book of Ezekiel is God’s promise, in both good and bad times: “They shall know that I am the LORD” (26 times), “You shall know that I am the LORD “(27 times).
In Ezekiel 1 we have a glimpse behind the scenes, behind Ezekiel’s commission as a prophet. Ezekiel was 30 years old when he was called, it was the fifth year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity (592 B.C). It’s difficult for us to understand the significance of all the details, but the overall message has to do with God working out His plan for the Jews and for all mankind. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are all woven within the chapter, as well as angels, and even prophets, like Ezekiel. The wheels symbolize work, in this case, God’s work…they stayed on track, they did not turn to the “right or to the left.”
From man’s perspective it may have seemed like King Nebuchadnezzar was on the throne, but Ezekiel was given this vision and clearly reminded that even though it was absolute chaos and heartache on earth, God was still seated upon the throne and in complete control. Not only that, it’s imperative for prophets and all of God’s people to be overwhelmed with the holy and awesome God we serve (see also Isaiah 6:1-8).
Ezekiel 1:28 (NKJV) “Like the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the brightness all around it. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. So when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard a voice of One speaking.”
Warren Wiersbe, “Usually you see the rainbow when the storm is over (Genesis 9:8–17), and only an arc at that. Ezekiel saw the rainbow during the storm, and it completely encircled the throne!”
In Ezekiel 2, after humbling the prophet, God lifts him up by His Spirit and prepares Ezekiel for the work. The nation had transgressed, the nation was rebellious, and it didn’t matter whether they listened or not, Ezekiel was to boldly share and declare the truth. It wouldn’t be a popular message, especially when the other “prophets” were preaching peace. Eventually the people would know that Ezekiel was a prophet of the LORD, for his words came to pass.
Like John the beloved, who was commanded to eat the scroll (Revelation 10:9-10), Ezekiel did the same. Before we give God’s Word out to others, we must first internalize it to ourselves.
God’s preachers and teachers are to be leaders, different, we are not to be rebellious.
Ezekiel 2:8 (NKJV) “But you, son of man, hear what I say to you. Do not be rebellious like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you.”
We see the same thing in Ezekiel 3 – even to the heart!
Ezekiel 3:10 (NKJV) “Moreover He said to me: ‘Son of man, receive into your heart all My words that I speak to you, and hear with your ears.’”
Ezekiel obediently ate scroll, but it’s heartbreaking to discover that the house of Israel would not be obedient, they would not listen to him, because they would not listen to the Lord (Ezekiel 3:7). It didn’t matter, Ezekiel was called and commissioned to keep preaching the message, to NOT be afraid. Jeremiah was given the same type of commission. Imagine being sent out by the Lord, anointed and appointed by Him in such a glorious way, and yet with the promise, that the people won’t listen, you’ll be hated by them Ezekiel, you will see it in their faces.
He didn’t amass a great following, but Ezekiel’s ministry was clearly Spirit-led.
Ezekiel 3:14–15 (NKJV) “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. 15 Then I came to the captives at Tel Abib, who dwelt by the River Chebar; and I sat where they sat, and remained there astonished among them seven days.”
Spirit led to sit where they sat. I like what Ezekiel said, “…I sat where they sat…”
A good word to pastors and prophets and anyone who has a desire to minister to others.
The writer to the Hebrews continues to point these Christians to Christ. Why would they return to the law considering the superiority of Jesus? Moses was indeed faithful in all his house (calling and ministry) but Jesus is the one who built the house! Indeed Moses was faithful as a servant, but Jesus as the Son! As a matter of fact, Jesus is the builder and owner of the house (the people of God). We Christians prove to be the people of God if we hold tight and continue to believe in Jesus firm to the end.
This chapter serves as a warning to Christians – even today – listen, if you hear the Holy Spirit speaking to you…don’t harden your hearts as they did in the “rebellion.” Even though the children of Israel saw God’s wonderful work they hardened their hearted, resisted the Spirit, persisted in unbelief…so that generation was slain in the wilderness. They tragically went astray in their hearts.
O Lord, let our hearts be sure of You, pure and sincere.
If you take these words at face value, you realize that the writer is addressing “brethren” and warning them not to depart from the living God! It’s a heavy, heavy warning. He repeats the warning for TODAY (Hebrews 3:7, 13) don’t wait until tomorrow to get your heart right, to hold tight, we need to believe today, and continue to believe till the day we see Him face to face.
Again, the writer goes back to the example of Israel in the wilderness, who heard God, were redeemed out of Egypt with His strong arm of 10 plagues. He provided for them in the wilderness, took care of them, showed Himself strong to them, but they hardened their hearts. They went astray and ended having an evil heart of unbelief. Their corpses therefore fell dead in the desert…they did not enter God’s rest.
Hebrews 3:19 (NKJV) “So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.”
Friend, God help us to keep believing in Jesus, the good news of this glorious gospel, until the day we see Him face-to-face.
What a beautiful Psalm that begins in celebration of the LORD and the wonders of His creation! It’s good to get out of our “concrete jungles” from time to time; to open our eyes and see how creation reveals the majesty of our Creator.
Can you imagine Him stretching out the galaxies of heaven curtains? The clouds as His chariot? God walking on the wind? He made the angels His first ministers and then there’s the “foundation” of our floating earth. The ocean waters, covering all those mountains and valleys in the deep sea. In case you’re wondering the world’s largest underwater mountain is Mauna Kea, which is a dormant volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii. Mauna Kea rises 19,678 feet or 5,998 meters from the ocean floor before breaking through the surface and then rising another 13,796 feet or 4,205 meters to its peak.
Consider the springs that provide water for the beasts and the birds, the wild and domesticated animals, the grass, the vegetation, the fruit of the vine; the trees, the hills, the moon, and the sun…and there we are in the middle of it all, soaking it in, cooperating with His creation as we work the fields of our Father.
I’ve noticed that when people get saved, they appreciate creation even more, and the One who made it all for us to enjoy.
Proverbs 26:24-26 (NKJV) “He who hates, disguises it with his lips, and lays up deceit within himself; 25 When he speaks kindly, do not believe him, for there are seven abominations in his heart; 26 Though his hatred is covered by deceit, his wickedness will be revealed before the assembly.”
Haters are often-times the best deceivers, even able to deceive themselves. The pretension behind their “kind” words are not to be believed for their intentions are actually seven abominations (seven is the number of completion).
Bible Knowledge Commentary, “This verse warns against being taken in by a malicious person whose words are charming (Proverbs 26:23–24) but whose heart is filled with seven (i.e., numerous) abominations (Proverbs 6:16–19).”
In Jeremiah 40:13-41:18 Gedaliah was warned by Johanan regarding Ishamel, and other men who intended him harm. Gedaliah didn’t listen and paid the ultimate price. Winston Churchill warned the people about a man named Adolf Hitler…they didn’t listen and 75 million people died in WWII. It’s heartbreaking to consider the 20 million military personnel and 40 million civilians, many of whom died because of deliberate genocide, massacres, mass-bombings, disease, and starvation.
Verse 26 reminds us that eventually the truth comes out.
If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.