Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Ezekiel 2

Ezekiel's mission (vs. 1-10)--The awesome images of chapter one certainly got the prophet's attention and now he is ready to listen to God (v. 1). The Spirit aided him (v. 2); no doubt Ezekiel was in some state of trepidation over what he had seen, and now that Jehovah was speaking to him. The prophet's main mission is delivered to him in verse 3: "Son of man, I am sending you to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against Me; they and their fathers have transgressed against Me to this very day" (v. 3). As noted in the introduction, Ezekiel started his work in approximately 595 B. C., which was about nine years before the final destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. So he was indeed living in the midst of a "rebellious nation." They were "impudent and stubborn children," and his message, of course, was to be "Thus says the Lord God" (v. 4). Thus, the people would know that a true prophet was among them (v. 5).

Why Ezekiel is referred to as the "Son of Man" is a matter of speculation. The title is given to him some 90 times in the book. One writer has as good a suggestion as any: "It expresses the contrast between what Ezekiel is in himself and what God will make out of him, and to make his mission appear to him not as his own, but as the work of God, and thus to lift him up, whenever the flesh threatens to faint and fail." (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, "Son of Man") The phrase is used 43 times in the New Testament to describe Jesus, denoting His human nature, while "Son of God" describes His divine essence. He was both God and man. Ezekiel obviously is never referred to as "Son of God."

Jehovah in verse 6 encourages Ezekiel to courage, even though "briers and thorns are with you and you dwell among scorpions." Speak God's word, "whether they hear or whether they refuse" (v. 7). Don't fall into the trap of becoming like them (v. 8). It is easy for a preacher to indeed become discouraged when preaching to an apathetic, listless bunch of people, and many have let the world influence them rather than visa-versa. So God's warning here to Ezekiel is very practical. The Lord then gave the prophet a "scroll of a book" (v. 9) and he was told to eat it (v. 8). The scroll was full of the word of God ("there was writing on the inside and on the outside"), but it wasn't a pleasant message--"written on it were lamentations and mourning and woe" (v. 10). That would largely be Ezekiel's message to the people, because of their rebellion against God. Ezekiel will eat the book in chapter 3.

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