The book of Ezekiel is a book, pretty much like other prophetic books of the Bible. God is warning His people about His judgement. However, Some of the very unusual things that Ezekiel sees and does, makes this book stand out among some of the others. Remember when we talked in Lamentations about how Babylon came in, gutted Jerusalem, and took many of the Jews into captivity? Well, Ezekiel was one of those taken.
Five years later, on his birthday, Ezekiel goes and sits down by a river and begins to ponder all that had happened. Suddenly, one large storm cloud rolls in. He is watching this cloud and 4 creatures begin to appear. They were unlike anything he had ever seen before!These creatures each had large wings and 4 faces. The wings all touched. Each creature hovered above its own wheel. The wings of these strange creatures supported a platform. On that platform was a throne, and on that throne was a glowing being surrounded by an ember colored ring! It took a few minutes, but suddenly Ezekiel realizes that he is in the presence of God! And he fell on his face in reverence. Ezekiel was a bit perplexed however. He knew that the glory of God was always above the Ark of the Covenant in Jerusalem. What was He/God doing in Babylon. Ezekiel learned that God cannot be put in our mind-conceived boxes. He is God, and not limited to our human notions.
We do this all the time. Have you ever thought something was too small for God to care about, or too big for Him to do? How about our prayers? Does God hear so many prayers that He cannot possibly answer them all? Am I too bad that God can't save me? These are all ways that we put God in a box. Nothing is too bog or too small for God. He is all powerful, and He loves each and every single person so much that, no matter how bad we are, He sent his son Jesus to die for us.
Ezekiel was told by God to stand up and listen to what He was going to say. Ezekiel had trouble standing and the Holy Spirit placed Ezekiel on his feet. "I want you to go back and speak to the Israelites. Many of them will not listen to my message to them. They are a rebellious and stubborn people. They will insult you and maybe even try to harm you. But don't worry about that." God said to Ezekiel. Then He continued. "Whether they listen or not, continue with the message that I am giving you."
God wants us to share the good news with others. He knows that some will ignore us or even worse, but we are called to be faithful and not be concerned about the results. Ultimately it is the Holy Spirit that changes hearts, not us. Just like Ezekiel, we are called to share God's message.
Now begins some of Ezekiel's strange behavior. God gives Ezekiel a scroll with His message to the Israelites, and He tell Ezekiel to eat it! So he ate it. He said it was delicious! It was very sweet like honey!
That is how we should be with the Bible. No not literally eat it! LOL! But God's word is nourishment. We should savor it, and put it in us. The Bible tells us to keep God's word in our hearts. And one day, when we really need a certain scripture, the Holy Spirit will bring it to our minds for comfort or direction.
Ezekiel is now headed to Israel to confront the people left there, and those that have been scattered by the invasion of Babylon. He is going to tell them that because of their rebellion and the worshipping of other gods, there will be another invasion, and this time, Jerusalem will be completely destroyed and the temple will be in complete ruins, and the wall surrounding the city will be left in shambles. Ezekiel tell the people everything that God had asked him to, but then God asks His prophet, Ezekiel, to do some more bizarre things. First, Ezekiel was to go into his house and tie himself up.
God said that He would make it so that Ezekiel could not speak as a symbol of doom and helplessness that would fall upon the city. Then finally God allowed Ezekiel to speak these words. "He who has ears, let him hear." (the same words that Jesus used when talking in parables) Next, God wants Ezekiel to build a small replica of the city, then stage an attack on them, just like a child playing war with his or her toys. This was like a visual parable to the people of what was coming. Next God had Ezekiel cut off all his hair with a sword and shave his beard. Then divide all the hair into 3 piles. I'm sure this strange behavior drew quite a crowd as Ezekiel was out in the street in front of his house. Then Ezekiel burned one pile, struck another pile with a sword and finally the last pile, he threw up into the air and a brisk wind carried it off. God told Ezekiel that the few remaining hairs that fell to the ground, he was to tie them to his robe, then pull them off and toss them into the fire as well. This was a picture of how the people would be scattered after one third were killed by soldiers and another third would die of plagues and famine. And the few that survived would suffer.
God is so merciful! he warned the people over and over again what would happen if they refused to turn back to Him. We should continually thank God for His mercy, grace and patience with us.