Ezekiel 22 -- 24
On the very day that God revealed to Ezekiel that his precious wife, the desire of your eyes, was to die, God also said: Yet you shall not mourn nor weep, neither shall your tears run down (Ezekiel 24:16). Ezekiel was told by the Lord that, after his wife's death, he was to refrain from all the conventional signs of mourning: weeping, covering his head with ashes, going barefoot, covering his lip, and eating bread or the food that was commonly brought to a bereaved family after a funeral (Leviticus 13:45; II Samuel 15:30-32; Isaiah 15:3; 20:2; Joel 1: 8,13; Micah 3:7). He was not to be insensitive to the suffering of his wife. But, his own personal sorrow over the death of his wife was to give way to the far greater sorrow over the death of his nation and the destruction of the Temple which took place the same day that his wife died.
Ezekiel's message was illustrated by the parable of the unfaithful Aholah and Aholibah, two unfaithful (prostitute) sisters representing the Northern and Southern Kingdoms of Israel and Judah. Aholah was destroyed by the Assyrians because of her sins. When her sister Aholibah saw this, she was more corrupt . . . than her sister in her whoredoms. . . . Thus says the Lord God; I will bring up a company (Nebuchadnezzar's army). . . . They shall slay their sons and their daughters. . . . You shall bear the sins of your idols: and you shall know that I am the Lord God (Ezekiel 23:11,46-49).
News of Ezekiel's unusual reaction to his wife's death must have spread quickly among the exiles along the River Chebar, for the people gathered around him asking: Tell us what these things mean to us? (24:19). Then came the heartbreaking news from Ezekiel: Thus says the Lord God; Behold, I will profane (destroy) My sanctuary, the excellency of your strength . . . and your sons and your daughters whom you have left (in Jerusalem) shall fall by the sword. And you shall do as I have done. . . . You shall not . . . weep; but you shall . . . mourn one toward another. Thus Ezekiel is to you a sign: according to all that he has done you shall do: and when this (the news of the destruction of the Temple) comes, you shall know (be convinced) that I am the Lord God, who has confirmed His Word (24:21-24).
Eventually, a messenger who had escaped the devastation of Jerusalem arrived in Babylon to report the city's destruction (33:21). Then the people realized that they had been deceived by their false prophets, who had foretold a quick return to Jerusalem. Just as they had been forewarned by Jeremiah in Jerusalem and by Ezekiel in Babylonia, the Israelites' acceptance of false gods and indifference to their own sins against the One True God had brought about the slaughter of their sons and daughters.
How often we see worldly-minded people grieving over material losses which are totally irrelevant to their eternal welfare, and yet expressing no concern over their loved ones wasting their lives on worldly pursuits. Jesus said they were on their way to outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. . . . cursed, into everlasting fire. . . . into everlasting punishment (Matthew 25:30,41,46). In some Christian circles it is popular to express great joy over worldly achievements, but to have little to say about spiritual victories or the importance of reading the Word of God in order to know Him and fulfill His will.
Our hearts need to be broken over our sins and those of our friends, loved ones, and a lost world. Jesus was known as a Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53:3). Jesus wept (John 11:35).
In the denunciation of Israel's false prophets (Ezekiel 22:25-28). Compare these denunciations with those Christ spoke against the scribes and Pharisees (Matt. 23:13-36).
22:5 vexed means irritated, annoyed; 22:7 set light by means made light of; 22:12 gifts means bribes; 22:28 vanity means false visions; 23:10 famous means notorious byword; 23:16 doted upon means infatuated, lusted after; 23:20 paramours means illicit lovers; 23:24 wheels means chariots; 23:33 astonishment means horror; 24:17 tire means turban.
Government Officials: Rep. Ed Bryant (TN), Sen. Daniel Inouye (HI), and Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald (CA) · BPM Staff: Bryne Challenger · Pray for Bible Pathway Faith Promise Supporters · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio Broadcast in honor of Letha Hash's brother, Henry Rogers · Country: Cameroon (14 million) in west-central Africa · Major languages: English and French · Pressure on Christians from authorities and Muslims · 28% Roman Catholic; 23% Muslim; 18% animism, divination, and animal sacrifices; 14% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Ask the Lord to write His precepts in your heart (Colossians 3:16).
Memory Verse for the Week: