Ezekiel was called to do a job that required him to speak only when God told him to speak. God had conveyed that He was finished with their disobedience and hard hearts. Enough was enough, and He was ready to judge and punish His people for their rebellious spirit and actions.
Ezekiel, The Son of Man
In many respects, I relate to Ezekiel, an Old Testament priest, and prophet. Every time I write, I want to write only what God wants me to share with you. I try to write when He speaks to me, just as Ezekiel did when he spoke.
When Ezekiel spoke, he was to proclaim God’s message which was disregarded by the people and caused his peers to laugh and disrespect him. Ezekiel’s task was to foretell the future of Jerusalem and Judah to the people. He was to prophesy about the siege of Jerusalem, the desolation of Jerusalem, the idolatrous worship, the punishment for their wicked behavior, and their blasphemous disrespect for the temple.
In Chapters 4-7, where these issues were the major topics of interest, Ezekiel is called the “son of man” at the beginning of each chapter. In fact, Ezekiel is the only prophet regularly called the “son of man” by God. Some say that Ezekiel was called the “son of man” to show his humanness and to differentiate himself from the supernatural and bizarre visions he had—some of which occur in these chapters.
As we travel this journey together with Ezekiel, let’s remember that he is like us and human in many respects. He was brought up by religious parents and married in his 20s. He differed because he was exiled to Babylonia and he was receptive to God’s call on his life. Ezekiel had been filled with the Holy Spirit to do a BIG job. He is a believer in following God’s call on his life.
For 20 years, God called Ezekiel where people criticized him, made fun of him. He even continued his call through the untimely death of his beloved wife. He was called to proclaim the fall, turmoil, and restoration of Judah and especially Jerusalem.
Ezekiel knew that he was to be obedient. God shared this doom through action sermons. Action sermons consisted of Ezekiel acting out vivid physical depictions of God’s impending judgment in front of the people.
Are we willing to be obedient and endure being made fun of to be obedient to God? Some of us would if we had God’s continual assurance we were operating in His strength for His purposes.
Let’s look closer . . . Let’s see how Ezekiel did it by first looking at some prominent verses in Ezekiel 4-7.
I. An Action Sermon Ezekiel 4:1-3
Now you son of man, get yourself a brick, place it before you and inscribe a city on it, Jerusalem. Then lay siege against it, build a siege wall, raise up a ramp, pitch camps and place battering rams against it all around. Then get yourself an iron plate and set it up as an iron wall between you and the city, and set your face toward it so that it is under siege, and besiege it. This is a sign to the house of Israel.
II. An Action Sermon Ezekiel 5:1-2
As for you, son of man, take a sharp sword; take and use it as a barbers’ razor on your head and beard. Then take scales for weighing and divide the hair. One-third you shall burn in the fire at the center of the city, when the days of the siege are completed. Then you shall take one-third and strike it with the sword all around the city, and one-third you shall scatter to the wind, and I will unsheathe a sword behind them.
III. An Action Sermon Ezekiel 6:1-3; Ezekiel 6:13
And the word of the Lord came to me saying, “Son of man, set your face toward the mountains of Israel, and prophesy against them and say, ‘Mountains of Israel, listen to the word of the Lord God!’ Thus, says the Lord God to the mountains, the hills, the ravines and the valleys: “Behold, I Myself am going to bring a sword on you, and I will destroy your high places.
Then you will know that I am the Lord, when their slain is among their idols around their altars, on every high hill, on all the tops of the mountains, under every green tree and under every leafy oak—the places where they offered soothing aroma to all their idols.
IV. Prophecy Ezekiel 7:1-4
Moreover, the word of the Lord came to me saying, “And you, son of man, thus says the Lord God to the land of Israel, ‘An end! The end is coming on the four corners of the land. Now the end is upon you, and I will send My anger against you; I will judge you according to your ways and bring all your abominations upon you. For My eye will have no pity on you, nor will I spare you, but I will bring your ways upon you, and your abominations will be among you; then you will know that I am the Lord!’
Let’s Consider the Atmosphere
At the time, there was a spiritual battle going on between God and His people. The people were involved in deliberate and continual rebellion and they were about to reap the consequences. According to The Broadman Bible Commentary, they were worshiping pagan cults. They were morally corrupt. Their leaders were not guiding the people. Their priests gave no wise counsel. Even their court officials led with despair.
God was not going to tolerate their sinful behavior anymore.
At this point, God has called Ezekiel. He told him to prophesy to the people by using signs, action sermons, and visions. He was asked to do strange things to describe the desolation that was going to happen in Jerusalem. God gave him three specific prophecies regarding how the people will be punished—one-third will die by plagues or famine; one-third will fall by the sword; one-third will be scatted to every wind.
Ezekiel was told to denounce idolatry and tell the people of upcoming famines and diseases. He was obedient although up against calloused people who had no interest in hearing the word of God or prophecies of disaster even though he reminded them that God will leave a remnant of His people.
Let’s Consider the People
The people were enjoying their sinful lives. They took pride in their gorgeous jewels. They worshiped their vile idols and enjoyed their wealth to the fullest. The people continued to enrich themselves with material possessions, but their possessions were used for evil.
But, the Bible talks about disaster upon disaster about to be released upon them.
The people could not believe God would punish or hurt them. We hear this today, too, when people say, “God is good, and would never do anything to hurt us.”
It is rather devastating when a Trojan Horse “pop-up” warning appears on your computer screen while you are looking at a website. When it happened to me today, I immediately went to an authoritative source who could fix the problem—my husband.
But, that is not what happens in the book of Ezekiel. The people of Judah were so involved in their own pursuits they ignored the prophecies which instructed them to repent and turn to their own “authoritative source who could fix the problem”—God. They were not prepared to hear God through His servant Ezekiel. Today, Godly ministers experience many people who sit and listen to this same message, but it goes in one ear and out the other.
Let’s Consider the Leaders
The leaders themselves were not accountable to God. But regardless, God was making the people individually responsible for their actions even as their leaders were failing them.
Let’s Consider God
God’s patience was all used up and the penalty for their disobedience was coming NO MATTER WHAT. He was ready to unleash his anger and judge them for their conduct. Basically, God was sick and tired of the people’s shameless sinning. He tells Ezekiel that he is about to cut off the food supply in Jerusalem and only give the people rationed water. He tells Ezekiel the people will waste away because of their sin. In Ezekiel 5:10, we are told that parents will eat their children and children were going to eat their parents. They were to be scattered to the wind. Nations would hate them. The wild beasts will be against them. And plagues and bloodshed were coming. Bones were going to be scattered, towns laid waste, and the high places of idolatry were going to be demolished. God was not going to spare the people or look at them with pity. God was going to withdraw from them. He was not going to have any more pity on them. A crisis was lurking around the corner!
Nevertheless, in His graciousness, God tells why He is going to cripple the people. In Ezekiel 6:14b, God states that His desired result is that, “They will know that I am the LORD.”
In Ezekiel 5:11b, God says, “I myself will shave you. I will not look on you with pity or spare you.” Shaving in the Bible is associated with drastic measures. And drastic measures were coming. Remember ten years ago when pop singer Britney Spears shaved her head amid a personal meltdown? It was during a desperate time in her life. And God’s people were about to become desperate.
What Happens When God Has Had Enough of Our Sins?
- He warns us by confronting us with our sin. Sometimes He speaks through our conscience, other times by other people, sometimes through the Word of God. This gives us a chance to confront our sin and change. Sometimes He warns us multiple times over an extended period.
- We have a choice whether to turn from our ways, or not. Choosing to disobey is never a good idea.
- If we do not turn away from our sins, He warns us judgment is coming. It comes in God’s timing, but it always comes—in this life or in the afterlife.
- God decides on the judgment. It is always God’s prerogative in how He will judge you for a defiant and/or stubborn spirit.
- God punishes us. It is also God’s choice in how He chooses to punish us.
Pastor Tony Evans has a quotation in one of his books that states, “Sinners have a jar. Once the jar is full, it’s over. Every time a sinner rebels against God, they fill up the jar. When the jar is full, God judges them.” ¹ When God’s jar is full and He says enough is enough, it’s never a good sign. Punishment will come. It may come in the form of suffering, misfortune, heartbreak, disease, or any kind of catastrophe of His choosing.
Ezekiel’s call was to warn the Jews of the upcoming judgment in Jerusalem and Judah. He was obedient; he obeyed God in the task. Many people of the land chose to continue in their sin. No matter what side of the spectrum you are on—following the LORD or rebelling against the LORD, we are all called to be obedient.
In a rebellious state, repentance is the only suitable option. We may be the remnant that will be restored. We are reestablished by looking at the source, Jesus Christ. If we are already living a holy and acceptable life, let’s encourage others to be restored before something ruinous happens to them. In the case of the Jews in Judah, it was, unfortunately, death!
On January 24, 1994, in his State of the State Address, New York Governor Mario M. Cuomo, said, “In baseball, it’s three strikes and you’re out. Here [in the law], it’s three strikes and you’re in for life. ²
Let’s not “strike out” in life. Let’s not get to the point where God says, “Enough is enough!” Let’s look at the source before it is too late because when all is said and done, God’s purpose is that we will know that He is the LORD.” (Ezekiel 6:14b)
Bible Verses:[Blessings of Obedience] You shall not make for yourselves idols, nor shall you set up for yourselves an image or a sacred pillar, nor shall you place a figured stone in your land to bow down to it; for I am the Lord your God. (Leviticus 26:1)
“What are your multiplied sacrifices to Me?” Says the Lord. “I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed cattle; And I take no pleasure in the blood of bulls, lambs or goats. (Isaiah 1:11)
Therefore, thus says the Lord God, ‘Because you have forgotten Me and cast Me behind your back, bear now the punishment of your lewdness and your harlotries.’” (Ezekiel 23:35)
Dear heavenly Father. Help me in my life to always desire to follow You. If I am led to a life that is dishonorable to You, please show me my wicked ways. Give me the courage to turn back to You. I need You every day Lord. I need Your protection, guidance, and wisdom to be all You have called me to be. Lord, I ask for Your forgiveness in the ways I have been living. I toss all sins and undesirable associations out of my life to follow You. I’ve had enough of my sin and I desire to live the life You have called me to live. Thank you, Jesus. In Your name, I pray. Amen.
Member Inspirational Writers Alive; Bible Gateway Blogger Grid Member
Edited by E. Johnson; Bible verses are taken from the NASB if not noted otherwise.
¹ Evans, Tony. Tony Evans’ Book of Illustrations: Stories, Quotes, and Anecdotes from more than 30 years
of preaching and public speaking. Chicago: Moody, 2009.
² Spinrad, Leonard and Thelma Spinrad. Speaker’s Lifetime Library. Paramus, NJ: Prentice Hall. 1997.
Losch, Richard. All the People in the Bible: An A-Z Guide to the Saints, Scoundrels, and Other Characters in Scripture. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008.
Wiersbe, Warren. Be Reverent: Bowing Before Our Awesome God. Colorado Springs: David Cook, 2000.
Allen, Clifton, ed. The Broadman Bible Commentary: Jeremiah-Daniel. Nashville: Broadman, 1971.
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Books by Patti Greene