Ezekiel 24:15–27 comment (0)
June 19, 2014
By Douglas K. Wilson, Ph.D.
Related Scripture: Ezekiel 24:15–27
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Dean, School of Christian Ministries, University of Mobile
WHEN TRAGEDY HITS HOME
Listen to God (15–18)
God revealed that the prophet’s wife was about to die. What were His instructions? Ezekiel was not to weep, wail, tear his garments, fast and pray, remove his turban or his shoes. Instead he was to grieve privately, to “groan quietly.” He was giving the people a sign of God’s imminent judgment. When God spoke, Ezekiel listened to Him and did what He said.
Our hope is in the Lord, with whom we should have a more intimate relationship than anyone on earth. Even in the loss of our dearest family members, Christians rely upon His presence to comfort and guide us. When writing to the church at Thessalonica, the apostle Paul expressed his concern that Christ followers would not grieve for their loved ones in the same manner that unbelievers mourn (1 Thess. 4:13). Hope comes as we listen to the Lord.
Know God Better (19–24)
Two separate incidents lead to the same end. The impending death of Ezekiel’s wife turns his attention to the Lord. Likewise the imminent destruction of the temple in Jerusalem will draw the attention of Judah back to Him. In the midst of their heartache they will come to know God better.
In this passage Christians learn more of Christ and more of the Father’s purposes. First the anticipation of the temple’s destruction reminds us of Jesus’ words: “Destroy this sanctuary and I will raise it up in three days” (John 2:19). Jesus was speaking of something far more priceless than Solomon’s temple.
Second God reveals His purpose in the temple’s desolation. The inhabitants of Jerusalem are under indictment for their collective idolatry of the building itself. Throughout this passage “you” is in the plural form, indicating their guilt as a group. Rather than focusing their attention upon Him when they gathered for worship, their glory was the architecture and the artistry surrounding them. At the close, God states His purpose for judgment is so that they “will know that I am the Lord Yahweh” (24:24). Ezekiel pens this revelation “I am Yahweh” or “I am the Lord Yahweh” more often in his work than any other book in Scripture (62 times).
Both in joy and in sorrow, God’s purpose is for us to know Him. To know Christ (Phil. 3:10) and to make Him known among the nations (Rom. 15:20) were Paul’s chief ambitions in life. According to Jesus Himself, the essence of eternal life is to know the Father and the Son (John 17:3).
Trust God Completely (25–27)
In the days of Isaiah (56:7) and later during the ministry of Jesus (Mark 11:17), God said, “My house shall be a house of prayer for all the nations.” By the time of Ezekiel’s ministry, however, public and private idolatry had become commonplace on the temple mount. Handmade materials garnered greater consideration than Yahweh. Exiles were going to be heartbroken over the destruction. Finally Ezekiel would be able to capture their attention.
This final section is directed to the prophet. God reiterates His intent to destroy the temple — their pride, their joy, their delight and the object of their longing. A fugitive would inform Ezekiel of the devastation. At that moment, Ezekiel would communicate the message. He would be the watchman on the wall, sounding the ram’s horn and heralding the news. His countrymen would finally listen to his words.
We are living in times like the last days of Jerusalem. The authority of God’s Word is questioned everywhere — from the house to the White House and even at the church house. Some people say things like: “Has God said anything about that?” “Does the Bible really mean that?” “Surely we know better than some old book.” It seems that we have gone back to the beginning, with the same serpentine lies directed to Adam and Eve.
We must trust God completely. God alone is our Creator. Christ alone is our Redeemer. The Holy Spirit alone is Comforter of our souls.