One of the fascinating trademarks of Ezekiel is the amazing amount of physical activity the LORD commissions, and how each activity drives a specific lesson. Today’s reading moves quickly from setting to setting, so I’ll briefly touch on each of them.
We begin with Ezekiel still being led through the Temple, seeing the evil that is plotted there. In chapter 12 Ezekiel is told to pack his bags and dig through the walls of his city, exemplifying not only Jerusalem’s future but also specifically her king’s – again, who is not named. Chapter 13 is a “simple” oracle against false prophets, while in chapter 14 the oracle is directed at the men sitting before him, who have taken their idols into their hearts…
Finally, Jerusalem is declared useless – compared to a vine. “Is wood taken from [a vine] to make anything? Do people take a peg from it to hang any vessel on it?” Of course not. Therefore, “…It is given to the fire for fuel…” and will be become even more useless. This is how the LORD perceives Jerusalem.
Some familiar themes push through again today. When the prophet again falls to his face and asks, “LORD GOD! Will you make a full end of the remnant of Israel?” is he pleading, or merely curious? When the LORD executes judgment on Israel, how will they know that He is the LORD? If Ezekiel tells the exiles all the things that the LORD had shown me, what difference will it make? Is the message for them, or for the remnant back home?
In the middle of chapter 11, though, is our first word of hope – almost a quarter of the way through this book. Like a flower in the desert, “Thus says the Lord GOD: ‘I will gather you from the peoples and assemble you out of the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel. And when they come there, they will remove from it all its detestable things and all its abominations. And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God.’”
Our verse for this week is 2 Peter 3:9: The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
Ezekiel 11 through 15. Now let’s read it!
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.