In a vision yesterday the Lord had Ezekiel eat a scroll containing the word of God, illustrating that the Lord expects Ezekiel to digest His word so that he may faithfully relay His message to the people. Today, God calls Ezekiel the watchman for the house of Israel. Ezekiel will be held accountable for speaking the word of God to the exiles, and the people will be accountable for their response. However, if Ezekiel knows God’s word and does not warn the people and they die in their iniquity, God tells Ezekiel “his blood I will require at your hand.” However, if Ezekiel is faithful in sharing the Lord’s message, he will bear no guilt. Then the Lord fills Ezekiel with the Spirit so that he is equipped to handle the job of watchman. And the Lord says, “He who hears, let him hear; and he who refuses, let him refuse; for they are a rebellious house.”
After commissioning Ezekiel as the watchman of Israel, the Lord tells Ezekiel to go to his home, where the people will bind him and the Lord will make him mute. But when the Lord speaks to Ezekiel, he is to open his mouth and speak to those who will hear. Then the Lord instructs Ezekiel to perform three symbolic acts in order to get the attention of the rebellious people:
1) Sketch the city of Jerusalem on a clay tablet and lay siege against it like a kid would with a block toy to illustrate the coming destruction of the city.
2) Lie on his left side 390 days and his right side 40 days for the years of Israel’s and Judah’s sins. There are differing views on this symbolic act; some say the years are for their past sins and some say for their future judgment.
3) Cook your food over human dung. Now Ezekiel does object to this one, so God says he can use cow dung instead. This is to illustrate the food shortage during the invasion and captivity by the Babylonians.
Over in Jerusalem we find out that during the beginning of the reign of King Zedekiah, the Lord has Jeremiah wear a yoke to symbolize Judah’s future enslavement to Babylon. God will use Babylon to subdue all the nations and anyone who fights against them will die. Jeremiah warns the people against listening to false prophets and says to trust the Lord and submit to Babylon.
The false prophet, Hananiah, tells the people they will be released from captivity in two years, and he yanks the yoke off Jeremiah’s neck. God rebukes this false prophet for making the people believe lies and for giving them a false timeline of their judgment. Therefore, the Lord gives Hananiah a timeline on his life. He says Hananiah will die within the year — and two months later, Hananiah dies.
Tomorrow, God has Ezekiel perform some more unusual acts in an effort to get the people’s attention. Keep reading. (Ezekiel 3:16-4:17, Jeremiah 27:1-28:17, Jeremiah 51:59-64)