Thursday, August 16, 2012

What!? That's in the Bible!?: Ezekiel 4, vv.1-3

So the last edition of this series was a little serious, so this time I thought I would pick a passage that was a little funny. OK, it's pretty funny, although it's still pretty serious. What Yahweh tells Ezekiel to do is pretty funny, and at the same time the meaning behind the action is scary sad. Actually this whole chapter has some pretty humorous/sad stuff in it. The funniest part is the last section, but I think it is better to break the chapter into few bit sized chunks. So for the next few days, each day will get the next chunk added. So without further ado...

Ezekiel 4.1-3

“1And you son of man, take a brick for yourself and put it in front of you and engrave a city on it, Jerusalem [to be exact]. 2And lay siege against it and build a siege-wall against it and pour out a siege-ramp against it and put military-camps against it and set up battering rams against it on all sides. 3And now take for yourself an flat iron pan and put it as a wall of iron between you and the city. And make it stand firm in front of you and it will be under the siege and you will besiege it. This is a sign for the House of Israel."

So, this is really odd. I want you to picture/image how this went. Ezekiel is there, and then Yahweh God speaks to him. "Hey, Zeke, go get a brick! then chisel the name Jerusalem on it. Then I want to you play war with it like when you were a kid. You know, with battering rams and siege ramps and barricades and even the little tents and army men all around it. Then find a nice iron pan and stand it up between you and this whole setup. Then the siege is on and you will be besieging the city. This will be a signal of things to come for Israel!"

Yahweh continues and some more interesting commands are given to Ezekiel. However, this whole thing is kind of funny to picture. Like if you or I were to get this message, it might make us chuckle a little, but then again maybe it wouldn't. You don't see Ezekiel laughing in the passage. That's because God is sending a message Israel with all this. And it is not a happy message. It is kind of like a skit or claymation film showing what is about it happen. These are not fake people. This is not a game. This is a promise of what is about to happen. This promise is not happy, because it is a promise of doom! An entire city is doomed to war, doomed to capture, doomed to destruction. Yahweh in His grace is telling them in advance. And it is so important for His chosen people to really understand that He is giving a sign and a demonstration of what will happen.

I'll be honest I am not completely sure what the iron pan is about, but my guess is that it is supposed to signify that the coming attack and army would be like an impenetrable wall, an indestructible wall. The brick city could never break through it. I suppose another possibility is that God is saying He could be a like an Iron Wall for His City between them an their attackers, assuming they trusted Him to be that for them, but that does not seem to be the force of the passage or the book in general. So, it seems like the point is the point is Jerusalem will be under siege and they won't be able to break through to either escape or claim victory.

But what good does it do for us to know this? Well, while we are not Israelites, Yahweh is still the Same God. We know the kind of God He is. He is the God Who hates sin, and deals with it seriously. He is the God Who will even bring stern punishment against His chosen people. Being chosen by God does not keep God from dealing with our sin issues. But it also tells us that He is a God Who longs for repentance and a restoration to Him. He is giving this sign and message from Ezekiel to not just pull the Israelites to repentance and a restored relationship with Him in the past, but to pull us today to Him, to pull us to confess and turn away from our sinful lifestyles and actions and have a living healthy relationship with Him.

So if you are someone who has already trusted in Christ to save you from your sins and give you life forever with God in perfect relationship with Him, please, join me in being pulled to confessing our sins to God and changing our life to match His lifestyle. God will come after us if necessary, and we don't want that, so let's turn now! And even if God is already coming after, and the punishment won't be stopped, if you really do love and trust Him, turn to Him because that is the whole point of all that is/will happen!

But, if you have never trusted in Christ to save you from the punishment that is coming for all the times you have not listened to what Yahweh the Only True God has told you and to give you new life in Him by the Holy Spirit, then trust Him to do that today and turn to Yahweh before the punishment gets here, because it is just as sure and just as inescapable as the punishment that destroyed Jerusalem 2500 years ago. You have heard/read this blog so that you might turn to God and turn away from all the bad things you've been doing! Listen now, while you still have a chance! If you have more questions, contact me, please!

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