Ezekiel 2:1- 3:15
The prophecies and visions included in Ezekiel chapters 1 to 33 all came about in the first 7 years of his ministry. These years encompass the time between Ezekiel’s exile from Israel amongst the 10,000 learned men and the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple.
To the people of Israel, the possibility that the Lord would allow Jerusalem and the Temple to be destroyed was absurd. Could you imagine the reception that the prophet received from the people? It wasn’t exactly a happy calling for Ezekiel. He is sent to speak against a rebellious house. God warned Ezekiel that he would dwell among briar and thorns, sitting on scorpions, live with the people’s retaliatory looks and have words spoken behind his back (Ezekiel 2:6). Despite all of this, Ezekiel would continue to speak God’s Word. Pastor J. Vernon McGee once said, “To be in the ministry today is not easy IF you are going to stand for the Word of God”. We see evidence of this all through the scriptures.
Let’s hammer out some details:
- vs. 2:1 Son of man: repeated 93 times throughout this passage of scripture and throughout the book of Ezekiel(repetition signifies significance). God knew who He was speaking to for Ezekiel was just a man. Psalms 103:4, “For He knows our frame, He remembers that we are dust.” When you look at a pile of dust, do you think, “Now there’s a vision of life”? Without the breath and life of God, dust is just dust.
- vs. 2:2 And I heard Him speaking to me: Jesus is speaking. Ezekiel is a type of Jesus and will speak for Him.
- vs. 2:4 a rebellious house: also repeated throughout this passage, is a nation who totally wavered to obey the Word of the Lord. They had instruction but did not obey. If you notice, God does not address the by calling them “His people”. He calls them “a rebellious house” or “that nation”, or “Israel” or “that people”.
- vs. 2:9 words of lamentation and mourning and woe: I don’t know if you’ve noticed but the word of God is not all peaches and cream. This is why it’s described as a double edged sword. A sign of a mature Christian is that they don’t shy away from the tough stuff in the Bible. They know how to eat all of it. “The tasted of it is not bitter but sweet because they know that a loving father confronts with truth.” (A.W. Tozer)
- vs. 3:1 Eat, Go, Speak: Ezekiel would not merely speak the message; he would become the message. Ezekiel would only speak a word that he would have to heed first.
- vs. 3:3 Ezekiel eats the scroll: Ezekiel absorbs the message. When God gives us a word, we should not be so quick to give it away but search our hearts with it so that we may not be found unqualified in the end. (1 Cor. 9:27) Even though the coming judgment would be bitter, God’s word will be sweet and consoling to Ezekiel.
- vs. 3:5 not sent to a people of foreign speech and hard language: the people had God’s word. They spoke the same language as Ezekiel and had no reason to ignore the message.
- vs. 3:9 like emery harder than flint I have made your forehead : A divine toughening up. He would be relentless in the face of ridicule and mocking for God had done this good work. Ezekiel was to be stubborn but in the word of the Lord.
- vs. 3:11 whether they hear or refuse to hear: the outcome wasn’t the end goal. Obedience on the part of Ezekiel was the goal. Once he obeyed and spoke the words of the Lord, he was done. Ezekiel would see no signs of success as the people would ignore him. His failure would only be overturned when the prophecies finally came true.
- vs. 3:12-15 another vision of God: this is the third time Ezekiel sees God’s glory and it is necessary for Ezekiel needs strength for the task ahead.
- vs. 3:14 I went in bitterness in the heat of my spirit, the hand of the Lord strong upon me: Ezekiel was full of righteous indignation against sin because of the hand of the Spirit that was strong upon him. Yet, he retained human emotion at the prospect of having to prophecy such gloom and doom. He felt bitter (or sad, anxious and full of grief) but would still obey God. He was not overcome by his emotions because the hand of God was strong upon him.
- vs. 3:15 I sat there overwhelmed among them for seven days: Again, Ezekiel was not without emotions. He felt the pain of what was to come.
Ezekiel is repeatedly called “son of man” in this passage of scripture. Son of man also translates to “son of Adam”. It literally means “human being”. This is not to be confused with “Son of Man” the title given to Jesus, which he took on because he is the divinely appointed representative of humanity who bears all authority to forgive sins. It was a Messianic title. Ezekiel is not thee Son of Man but a type of Christ. All prophets are types of Christ in that they had greater access to God, spoke revelation from God and had great authority over men.
But Ezekiel was still a mere man. He received awesome and awful revelation from God but he was reminded of his humanity. Have you ever stopped to think about this? You have in your hands the bible- the revelation of God! Yet, you are puny human. Psalm 8:4 says, “what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” Do you take this extreme honor for granted?
Ezekiel ingests the message and absorbs the divine perspective. From here on out, Ezekiel will be mute. His voice will be divinely enabled and be a mouthpiece for God. God will control his tongue henceforth. For the first seven years of his ministry Ezekiel will literally only say and do what God commands. He will be a prophet of judgment.
Remember that in the Old Testament the Law of Moses was given to create righteousness in the hearts of the people. The work of grace was alive in the hearts of those who delight in meditating and doing the law of God. Some may have had outward compliance to the law but their hearts were never changed. The individual was responsible for their own uprightness. Thank God for the law of grace! Nonetheless, God judges a people who do not follow his word.
We talk about the fear of the Lord being manifested in our lives as we reverence and awe Him but I think we can do with some more fear of the lord in the way of being scared, frightened or afraid. This is serious stuff. It would do us good to recall that the Lord abhors sin and that His judgment is swift and fierce. He is not a pushover or sissy. He is God. People may not be dropping dead anymore because of sin but that doesn’t make sin less serious. This is a weighty matter.
Many of us have tried to redefine God. The book of Ezekiel shows us that the more we see God, the more we will hate sin. In today’s church, we see an emphasis on God’s love. This love they preach about is incomplete. It fails to acknowledge the wrath, justice, holiness and righteousness of God. It is a false doctrine that has infiltrated the church. The call to respond to the gospel of Jesus Christ does not include repentance or the appeal to confess and turn from sin. This is false doctrine!
God calls these people “a rebellious house”. Rebellious people want to control others. Israel was rebellious in that they wanted to control God. They wanted his blessings even though they did not obey him. They would cry out to him in times of need but their hearts were far from him. Rebellion can be defined as not obeying God but also as obeying God only in part. If you only do half of what God has commanded you to do, you are in rebellion. If you do what God has asked you to do but in your own way and not in the way he has instructed, you are rebellious. Rebellious people set aside the legitimate authority of God. They try to stand on their own authority. Once you’ve decided to question the truth in the Bible, you’ve strayed from the knowledge of God. You are a rebel when you do not eat of God’s word.
Remember what the Lord said to King Saul through his prophet Samuel in 1 Samuel 15:23, “For rebellion is as the sin of divination (or witchcraft), and presumption (or stubbornness) is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has also rejected you from being king.” King Saul had obeyed God by going out and fighting Amalek but he disobeyed in one point. God had commanded him to destroy all the Amalekites and their belongings but King Saul kept the best of the spoils.
King Saul started with disobedience and rejection of the authority of God but he ended in consulting the witch of Endor (1 Samuel 28). God called it out from the beginning! King Saul’s compromise of the word of God and the shedding of God’s authority was the beginning of witchcraft. Rebellion is witchcraft! The occult practices that we see today (i.e. Satanism, witchcraft, tarot cards, horoscopes, etc.) are products of rebelliousness towards God.
A good example of rebelliousness in the church is the acceptance of heavy shepherding. The bible tells us that we must obey our pastors and submit to their authority. However, the only authority a pastor can exercise over the sheep is that of God’s word. Only the scriptures can and should have authority over our lives. This is why it so important for all believers to study and know the bible. We do not follow a church or pastor’s vision; we follow and obey God’s word.
Clearly, the faithfulness of Ezekiel to God stands as a challenge to our own. While the whole world stands rebellious before a holy and righteous God, we can stand upon the word of God. It’s time to tell the truth!
- Which other men in the bible were called “son of man”?
- King Saul was clearly rebellious to the authority of God. Can you name any other examples of rebelliousness in the bible?