Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Believe it or not!

But when I speak with you, I will open your mouth, and you shall say to them, Thus says the Lord God.’ He who will hear, let him hear; and he who will refuse to hear, let him refuse, for they are a rebellious house.
Ezekiel 3:27

Prophets had it rough, man! I think we Americanized christians in my culture would be really uncomfortable with their ministries. Ezekiel is a prime example of prophetic oddness. God had him prophesy by example... weird, odd behavior got the attention of his people. We'd think it psychotic today, and have him see a shrink! 

In chapter 3, the Holy Spirit informs Ezekiel he must go home, shut himself in his house, bind himself with rope, and stay there. God was also going to strike him mute for a season so that anyone who came to see him could only witness him bound and speechless. Then when his speech returned, his message was to simply state that the exiles were a rebellious house.

In chapter 4, the prophet is instructed to engrave Jerusalem's map on a brick, lay down and play "war" with it, building siege walls and placing battlements and battering rams against it. Then he was to place an iron pan between himself and the toy city. And for 390 days he was to lay there on his left side symbolizing Israel's punishment. He could then turn to his right for 40 days to symbolize the same for Judah. After that he was to shake his fist, arm bared, prophesying against this mini-Jerusalem. He was to bake bread on a fire of dung. It was weird stuff... all meant to get the attention of the exiles.

But Ezekiel obeyed God's commands despite the oddness of what he was being asked to do. He fulfilled this in every respect and God's Word went to His rebellious people. I can imagine the scoffing we'd hear today at such a message was even stronger for Ezekiel among the people he knew. But a prophet must always say: "Thus says the Lord", no matter what the means God insists that he say it. And by reading Ezekiel today, we know it was faithfully done.

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