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RESOURCE CENTER AND ARCHIVES

Ezekiel 1:13; 1:282:5; 6:710 comment (0)

May 29, 2014

By Douglas K. Wilson, Ph.D.

Related Scripture: Ezekiel 1:13; 1:282:5; 6:710


Explore the Bible 
Dean, School of Christian Ministries, University of Mobile

WHEN YOUR WORLD CRUMBLES

Ezekiel 1:1–3; 1:28–2:5; 6:7–10

For the next three months, we are studying the text of exilic prophets Ezekiel and Daniel. Young Daniel and his friends were ushered to Babylon during the first deportation to become a new generation of Judahite statesmen who would welcome their people to a new land. Ezekiel was among those taken from Jerusalem during the second deportation. They did nothing to deserve the Babylonian exile, yet they endured.

My grandparents faced the Great Depression, in which their economic world fell apart. Our parents had Vietnam and Watergate, and their political world crumbled. Then my generation experienced the dawning of 24-hour cable news service. We learned that the whole world is falling apart and there is little we can do about it. My students (and their children) are now discovering that they can share their faith while helping meet the needs of orphans, trafficking victims and those affected by storms.

Interrupted Life (1:1–3)

The opening verse may indicate that Ezekiel was 30 years old, having been in exile for five years already. If this is accurate (not all commentators agree that the “thirtieth year” is in reference to his age), the young Levite had come of age for priestly service (see Num. 8:24–25) while in captivity. As we discover in the subsequent chapters, Ezekiel was called to serve the Lord before his people, but he would not be ministering at the temple in Jerusalem.

We need to be prepared to go wherever the Spirit leads us, speak what is revealed to us and bear witness to Jesus wherever we go. Are you ready for God to interrupt your life? The following prayer is attributed to David Livingstone and has served me well in ministry: “Lord send me anywhere, but go with me. Lay any burden upon me, but sustain me. Sever any tie that binds, except that which binds me to Your heart and Your service.”

God’s Glory (1:28)

Before Ezekiel, the last time God revealed His glory was during the time of Isaiah, as a transition took place between the leper king, Uzziah, and his son, Jotham. The reader may recall that Isaiah’s experience brought him under great conviction. Like a leper crying out when healthy men walk by, Isaiah cried out to God: Unclean, unclean. I’m a man of unclean lips, and I live with a people of unclean lips.

When the Lord manifests His presence visibly, life changes. Ezekiel fell on his face. The heaviness was tangible. God was drawing near. When God spoke, the prophet listened to His every word.

Mission Improbable (2:1–5)

Like Isaiah and Jeremiah before him, this young priest was called to an impossible task. He would proclaim, “Thus says the Lord,” knowing full well that the people would not listen to his message. The people would be convinced that Ezekiel was a prophet from God, but their response would be little more than indifference. Chapter 3 gives more insight, in which God tells the priest that he is called to his own people. His calling was to sound the shofar, to be a watchman on the wall, but most of his people would not listen.

Making Sense of Disaster (6:7–10)

Why did these good people have to face war, famine, disease, persecution and death? If God really chose them, wouldn’t their lives be better? Why does God allow bad things to happen? Some would argue that either God does not care or He is incapable of doing anything about evil. Taking a Christ-centered approach, we should see that God sent His beloved Son. He faced homelessness, hunger and humiliation as a demonstration of the lengths to which God would go to purchase our salvation. Should we not endure as much, so that the world will know the one true God and His Son Jesus Christ?

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