Thursday, December 17, 2015

Ezekiel Part 1 - Chapter 4

I've been intrigued by the book of Ezekiel for a long time. I'm here beginning a short series on it. Here is a post I wrote entirely on my iPhone.

Ezekiel chapter 4 

Ezekiel went to the middle of the square and set down a small table with a bag next to it. He then stood upright and yelled circumspectly with a loud voice, "Hear the word of the LORD!"

"What are your doing?", a curious bystander asked Ezekiel the prophet.

"You shall see," said Ezekiel.

He was in a city square of the Jewish quarter in Babylon among the Jews who were in exile, living in reasonable freedom. The conquest of Jerusalem had taken several stages. Ezekiel and many in the crowd were taken as prisoners five years earlier along with their king Jehoiachin. Jerusalem was left intact and a puppet king was put in place.  But the puppet too became rebellious. They had taken sides with Egypt against Babylon which sorely wore Babylon's patience. Ezekiel was predicting the final destruction which the exasperated Babylonians would execute to put an end to Jerusalem.

He took some things from the bag - they were a few bricks, a pot, and a paint brush and set it up on the table for better viewing to the small crowd that was gathering. Dipping in the brush to the pot of white paint, he began sketching on the bricks a picture of Jerusalem's city walls as seen from the outside. He turned, with brush in hand and said, "This is Jerusalem." He put down the pot and brush and reached in the bag for more items, bringing out some pieces he had made from wood and clay. They might have appeared as toys, but these stood for machinations of war. He held them up and turned around, making sure everyone saw them, and then said what each one was, with an urgent voice and a piercing expression.

"This is a siege wall against
"This is a ramp!"
He turned around and set up the scene.

Reaching again into the bag he pulled out a recreation of an enemy encampment and a battering ram, echoing the name of each one before the bewildered crowd and put it in place before the walls.

With animated sound effects, the seemingly mad Ezekiel lay siege to the city, breaking its walls.

Finally, he pulled out of the bag an iron skillet and walked around in front of the crowd brandishing the black pan. "This is the siege of Jerusalem that is coming!" He then spun around and held it between his face and the props on stage. He did this for several minutes. With the impact of the visual drama accomplished, Ezekiel turned around with a pained but determined look on his face. His hair and his clothes were disheveled.

He prophesied, "Thus says the Lord GOD  ‘This is Jerusalem; I have set her at the center of the nations, with lands around her. But she has rebelled against My ordinances more wickedly than the nations and against My statutes more than the lands which surround her; for they have rejected My ordinances and have not walked in My statutes.’ Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD, 'Because you have more turmoil than the nations which surround you and have not walked in My statutes, nor observed My ordinances, nor observed the ordinances of the nations which surround you,’ therefore, thus says the Lord GOD, Behold, I, even I, am against you, and I will execute judgments among you in the sight of the nations. And because of all your abominations, I will do among you what I have not done, and the like of which I will never do again."

Everyone was stunned for the fate of Jerusalem. Many were glad they were in Babylon for they were under the protection, in an odd sort of way, of the reigning superpower, until it was Babylon's time to go, for God's clock was counting down the seventy years He had allotted for their exile, though no one knew this at the time, except for Jeremiah.

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