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the endurance of the prophets

January.31.2010

I’ve been reading Ezekiel lately and the Lord has been showing me some of the crazy things He tells His prophets to endure so that the people would understand that He is the Lord.  In Ezekiel 4, for example, one of the metaphors the Lord tells Ezekiel to act out for the people of Israel is the future siege on Jerusalem.  So first, Ezekiel is to take a brick and engrave Israel on it, build a siege against it, put a siege wall around it, place battering rams against it, put an iron griddle in between him and all this to symbolize an iron wall, and he is to let it be in a state of siege.  While this is happening, Ezekiel is instructed to lie on his left side for 390 days (the amount of years of Israel’s punishment) and to bear their punishment on his arm.  Three hundred ninety days!  Then, if that wasn’t enough, he was to turn over on his right side and bear the punishment of Judah (40 days) on his bear arm, all the while prophesying against the city.  During this time he is to eat rationed and inferior wheat (to show that a famine was coming) baked over cow poop (well the Lord first told him to use human manure but Ezekiel told Him that he has never defiled himself and begged not to and the Lord compromised with the cow poop) to show the people how bad it would be during this time of punishment.  There’s even more interesting stuff in Ezekiel 5 that you should take a look at too.

But one of the coolest things that has always stuck with me since Thad brought it up at comchurch (probably a year ago or so) was that the Lord instructed Ezekiel to go to these people and proclaim to them everything He put into his mouth and “whether they hear or refuse to hear, they shall know that a prophet has been among them”. This must have been such an encouragement to Ezekiel – to know that his job wasn’t to put his hands on their hearts and make them right, but to proclaim rightness through the streets and in the ears of the all the Lord’s people. I think this relates well to our responsibility as children of the Lord.  We are to go and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ to all the peoples.  That’s it.  I mean, sure, loving them is part of the deal, it should be part of our nature as children of the Most-High God.  But we aren’t expected to change their hearts – that’s the Lord’s choice and privilege.

Well, the people end up not listening and the Lord brings all this destruction forth about 7 years later.  And as our God repeated over and over, He did all this – famine, sword, disease, removing them from all they owned – in order to show that He is the Lord to the little remnant that He spared.  So that His people would continue to be His people.  I love that our God is so jealous for what is rightfully His.

Us.

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