Archive for December 16th, 2016

Ezekiel 4

Ezekiel 4 has God instructing the prophet to give a visual lesson around the message he has been trying to portray.  “Now you son of man, get yourself a brick, place it before you and inscribe a city on it, Jerusalem….lay siege against it….raise up a ramp, pitch camps and place battering rams against it all around….and set your face toward it so that it is under siege….This is a sign to the house of Israel”.  Words alone weren’t getting the message across, so God has Ezekiel move to a word picture to describe what is coming.

The message to the exiles was that they had no chance of an early return to Jerusalem. On the contrary, Jerusalem could expect further attack. God would not defend the city; rather he would cut himself off from it. The prophet symbolized the barrier between God and sinful Jerusalem by taking an iron cooking plate and holding it between himself (representing God) and the model of the besieged city.  It’s pretty hard to miss the message with this, but the people didn’t pay attention.

So God has Ezekiel kick it up a notch.  Each day he was to “lie down on your left side and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel on it; you shall bear their iniquity for the number of days that you lie on it”.  He was bound with cords so that he could not move, to symbolize that God’s people could not escape the judgment of their sins. However, his arm was left bare, to demonstrate God’s determination to fight against Jerusalem.  God’s got the number – “For I have assigned you a number of days corresponding to the years of their iniquity, three hundred and ninety days”.

In the third acted parable, Ezekiel ate a starvation diet each day, to symbolize the scarcity of food and water in Jerusalem during the last great siege.  “Your food which you eat shall be twenty shekels a day by weight; you shall eat it from time to time.  The water you drink shall be the sixth part of a hin by measure; you shall drink it from time to time”.   Ezekiel complained that it was unfair to ask him to use human dung to make the fire, so God allowed him to use cow’s dung instead.  Three very visible ways to make the point he’s been trying to get the people to hear.

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