You may think Ezekiel’s case doesn’t apply to us. After all, God asked him to do some pretty strange stuff. Yet, I think when we look closer, we find that people are people, and they respond today pretty much as they did during his day. God tried to warn him: “You are living among a rebellious people. They have eyes to see but do not see and ears to hear but do not hear, for they are a rebellious people” (Ek 12:1). This statement applies to our day and time as well, doesn’t it? It’s not disagreement about the facts, but the interpretation of the facts that leads to the conflict of realities.
Apparently, despite already being in captivity, the people did not think they would be staying there long. To try and get the people’s attention, God asked Ezekiel to do some strange things. This time, God asked Ezekiel to dig a hole though the wall of his house and take the belongings he could though it. In other words, he couldn’t take everything he owned, just enough for a quick escape. Now, the Bible is silent on his home life. Yet, you can imagine his wife was likely not very happy with now having a hole in her wall when the door was only a short distance away! Then, after going through his wall, Ezekiel was to act as if he was blind and could not see where he was going. You can see their reaction, right? See their fingers pointing and hear the cackle of their laughter?
Yet, this was a sign to the people that their king, currently back in Jerusalem, would be caught trying to escape capture and would be made blind. And this is what the historical record confirms for us. King Zedekiah fled Jerusalem at dusk through the wall in his garden, was caught near Jericho, saw his sons killed before him, and then his eyes were poked out. The people were scattered throughout many countries. A few were spared, but most died from sword, famine, and plague.
This was also prophesied by the prophet Jeremiah who was back in Jerusalem with Zedekiah (Jr 38). The princes in Jerusalem had heard Ezekiel was prophesying that Zedekiah would never see Babylon, yet Jeremiah was prophesying Zedekiah would be taken to Babylon. Therefore, they convinced the king that he could not trust either prophet, for they were just unpatriotic, and did not make sense as their prophecies were contradictory. Yet, we find out both were correct: Zedekiah was indeed taken to Babylon and he never saw the city because his eyes were put out before he ever left Judah.
Next, Ezekiel was commanded to tremble as he ate and to shudder in fear as he drank. This was another sign that those in Jerusalem would eat in anxiety and drink in despair because their land was about to be stripped of everything and be laid bare. Some of the people likely dismissed Ezekiel entirely. Others said that even if they believed him, it wouldn’t happen for a very long time. They quoted the proverb, “the days go by and every vision comes to nothing” (Ek 12:22), meaning they hear all these prophecies, but they never seem to come true. Yet, God speaks through Ezekiel and tells them he would put an end to this proverb in only a short time.
Ezekiel then spoke against the false prophets (Ek 13). They were prophesying peace and placating the people to make them feel secure rather than trying to make them turn back to God. Ezekiel stated they were just putting white wash on a flimsy wall. It may look good but was of no worth. Ezekiel then stated the elders of the people were in the same condition. They would rather worship idols who could not help them rather than turn to God who could actually do something for them. God told Ezekiel that even if Noah, Daniel, or Job were present, they would not be able to save their own children; they could only save themselves. In other words, God’s mind was made up. Destruction was imminent, and nothing would now stop it from occurring.
The prophecy of Jeremiah validated Ezekiel’s prophecies. Jeremiah prophesied that Judah’s captivity would last for 70 years (Jr 25:11-12; 29:10). Jeremiah sent word to the captives in Babylon to settle down, build houses, plant gardens for produce, marry and have children, and pray for God’s blessing because they would remain in captivity for 70 years. History tells us that the destruction of the temple by Nebuchadnezzar occurred in 586 BC and the building of the second temple during the time of Ezra and Nehemiah occurred in 516 BC: 70 years exactly.
To further get the people’s attention, Ezekiel compared Judah to a vine which is of nothing useful (Ek 15). It’s only purpose is fuel for a fire, and God had decided to use them as such.
Ezekiel then compared Judah to an adulteress. He stated their father was an Amorite and their mother a Hittite. Both of these ethnic groups were hated by the Jews. God knew this and used it for effect, for neither of these wanted their baby. The infant’s umbilical cord was not cut, but the bloody baby was simply thrown into a field and left abandoned. The Hittites were from whom Esau had taken his wives and his actions had grieved his father Isaac, and Amorites practiced wicked rites in their worship rituals. God used this for effect. He was saying it was a disservice to say they were descended from Abraham.
God said that when he came by and saw the abandoned infant, he took pity on her and willed her to live. He provided blessings, gave her love, clothing, wealth, and she became a beautiful queen. Yet, despite all God had done for her, she turned her back on his love and became a prostitute, using her wealth to make golden idols. She took her sons and sacrificed them as food to these idols. Although she despised the practices of other nations, she committed even greater travesties. Despite all of this, God stated he would still keep his promise to her and could bring them back to himself.
I find this truly remarkable. What God is saying is that nothing these people would do would change or deter him from fulfilling his promises. Isn’t that a God you want to know? How magnanimous. Who do you know that would do that for you? You may think you have done something unforgiveable. God is saying, no, that is not true. His arms are open wide, just waiting for you to turn around and see him, run to him, and be embraced in the love you have always wanted. Where are you today? Stop. Turn around. See his arms? Run to them. Feel his embrace. Find the love you truly desire.
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Biblical Paradox: Salvation