Chapter 3 is going to end the confrontation of Ezekiel with God and then we will progress into (for about half of what is left of the book) the judgment on Judah. Once again the book of Ezekiel is one of the more challenging books to read, so I might misunderstand some things throughout the blogs, and please let me know if I do! I am using a lot of commentary and study Bibles throughout reading this book, but sometimes it is possible to still get lost and confused!
I misspoke in my previous post! God gave the Word for Ezekiel to eat in chapter 3, not chapter 2. Chapter 2 cuts off the story in a weird place…I always wonder how it was decided when to cut off chapters. The Words that God gave Ezekiel were apparently “sweet as honey” (Ezekiel 3:3) which I find interesting, because I wouldn’t expect anything less coming from God. God sends Ezekiel to the house of Israel, for they will understand what he is saying, but God still knows that they will probably not listen still because they were not even willing to listen to Him. Once again Ezekiel is commissioned. God said, “Son of man, all my words that I shall speak to you receive in your heart, and hear with your ears. And go to the exiles, to your people, and speak to them and say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD GOD,’ whether they hear or refuse to hear,” Ezekiel 3:10-11. As soon as God was done speaking, a loud noise sounding like an earthquake happened, and the angels left and the Spirit carried Ezekiel to Tel-abib where the other exiles were sitting. Ezekiel sat there in shock for 7 days…can you imagine that shock of meeting the most holy and glorious creator ever? It might have taken me some more time to stop being in shock.
God tells Ezekiel that he is to act as a watchman. A watchman sends warning to those people around him when something dangerous is about to happen. God is sending Ezekiel with warning that they are about to face judgment for their unrighteousness (Jerusalem has not fallen completely to Babylon yet). God warns Ezekiel that he must give these prophecies and warning, or else it would harm the righteous that do exist, for they will listen to Ezekiel, but if they never hear the information they would not have a choice. God is placing pressure upon Ezekiel. Ezekiel then went into the valley and faced God like he had previously and “fell on his face,” like what always happens whenever one confronts God face to face – for His glory overcomes us and is unfathomable. God tells Ezekiel that the Spirit will allow him to speak only when God has prophecies for His people, for He does not want Ezekiel to reprimand the people, for God wants them to stay as their rebellious house and not change because of human reprimand. God wants the people to make their own decisions on whether or not they choose to listen or not, and He does not want Ezekiel to interfere. Imagine how challenging it would be for Ezekiel. He might have had loved ones who would not listen and he would want to protect them by trying to persuade them, but God said he cannot do that. God gave us our own free will for a reason, and this is one of those times where one’s will is being tested.
Chapter 4 was a lot more complicated to me. There is a lot of symbolism revolving around the siege of Jerusalem. The siege of Jerusalem is being depicted in this chapter and there are specific details throughout the chapter. I used the Reformation Study Bible available through Bible Gateway as a resource for this chapter. Apparently bricks and tablets were commonly used by prophets at this time to illustrate their points (Jeremiah, and Isaiah used them at some points). Ezekiel and the brick in the first three verses show the besiegement of Jerusalem, by being taken down by an iron force much stronger than its own power. The iron between Him and Jerusalem also represents how prayers to God and His connection with His people have been cut off. Ezekiel was going to symbolically bear the sin of the people by having to lay on his left side for 390 days to bear the sins of the house of Israel and then 40 days for the sins of Judah. God will enforce he completes these payments. Ezekiel will have to bear these sins and live off of only the ration supplies of food that would exist for someone in a besieged city. Ezekiel will have to be unclean like those that are in the city, and cannot stay clean. These actions that Ezekiel will have to take part in seem intense but they are reflecting the pain and filth that the people of Jerusalem will go through because of their unrighteousness and silence from God.