God had Ezekiel lay on his left side while he was tied up for 390 days! Then on his right side for another 40 days! Each day of the 390 was to represent one year that Israel had turned it's back on God. Similarly, each of the 40 days was to represent the years that Judah turned from God. Although he was tied up, Ezekiels right arm was free and outstretched as a symbol of God's mighty arm of judgement. God gave Ezekiel a bread recipe that he would eat during this time. It would amount to almost exactly 8 ounces of bread per day. The water measurementwould be equal to about a pint, barely enough to keep a man alive! As a symbolic sign of what was to come for the Jews.
Food would be so scarce. men could barely survive. Finally God had Ezekiel bake this bread, using animal poop as fuel for the fire. Ezekiel was not happy about it, but it symbolized the misery that would accompany Israel during the siege. God explained to Ezekiel each point of this strange request so that Ezekiel could relay the warning to the people. Ezekiel was a good and faithful servant. He did as God requested, knowing full well, because God told him so, that the Israelites would not listen.
That is a great lesson for us. God desires faithfulness from us. When He wants us to do something, we are not to weigh the pros and cons. We should't do it with a great expectation of amazing results. God knows what He is doing. If He asks us to do something..... just do it and leave the results up to Him. Example: God wants me to tell that kid over there that He loves him and Jesus died for him. I think to myself, "That kid is bigger than me. I don't want to. He probably won't listen anyway. He is kind of a bully, so I'm not sure if God really wants me to say that to him." Don't call a committee meeting in your head to determine "if you should" Just know that God is good, and do what He wants. It frees us from all the internal debate. And if you don't get a positive response.... it's OK God has got this!
In Chapter 8, God brings Ezekiel to Jerusalem in a vision. He is virtually escorted to God's temple there in the holy city, however it is not good. Ezekiel sees a large statue, an idol sitting just outside the temple doors. And he see the elders of the church worshipping this idol outside the temple and inside the temple! Remember when Moses came down with the Ten Commandments and the people were worshipping a golden calf? Well here they are again. Not only that, but the women of Israel are worshipping another idol near the temple wall. God doesn't like it and, with a sad heart, He shows Ezekiel. Finally the vision ends with the cloud of God's glorious throne chariot drifting out of the temple and going east.... toward Babylon! Remember last time Ezekiel wondered why God's glory was there with him in Babylon and not in His temple? Well now we know. God answered Ezekiel's question with this vision.
So why did God have Ezekiel do all this? God new the Israelites wouldn't listen, but maybe, just maybe, He knew that we would be reading about this. We would see how the prophesies revealed to and through Ezekiel would come to pass. And that through this story, our faith would be strengthened as we get to know God and His infinite power, wisdom, mercy and grace just a little bit better.