The Lord was bringing punishment upon His own beloved people, and particularly upon His chosen city, Jerusalem. This was not accidental or passive on His part. He was actively engaged in this work of holy destruction.
Ezekiel was God’s agent in acting out parables regarding the events that would soon take place. When the prophet was instructed concerning the building of a little model of what would soon come to pass, the Lord told him, “This is a sign for the house of Israel.”
It would be uncomfortable to deliver the message God’s way. Ezekiel had to lay on one side of his body for a time, and on another for a specified duration. These displays formed the Lord’s dramatized prophecy “against the city.”
God’s ambassador among the exiles would have to eat special bread and drink a very limited amount of water in order to give testimony regarding the physical deprivations that the people of Jerusalem would have to endure. Their trials would go beyond the wasting away of their bodies. Their souls would also be vexed by the events all around them. Jehovah said, “I will break the supply of bread in Jerusalem, They shall eat bread by weight and with anxiety, and they shall drink by measure and in dismay.” This would be the story of the covenant people when they faced the curse of God coming against them for their disobedience.
Why do we have so many chapters warning Israel and Judah concerning divine judgments? Of what use to us today are these accounts that show the trials that eventually came upon the Lord’s people? These sections of the Bible help us to consider the future sufferings of our Savior who bore our guilt. They are parables for us of what He faced in His earthly ministry and in His death on the cross.
Was Jesus hungry and thirsty when He fulfilled Isaiah 53:5 by being “crushed for our iniquities?” Yes, He certainly was, but He was also grieved in His Spirit. His anguish in the Garden of Gethsemane becomes all the more real to us when we allow the divinely ordained hardships of Israel and Judah to prepare us for the passion of the Messiah. Our careful reflection on the warnings of God through the prophets will be profitable for our souls if we let them increase our understanding of what Jesus faced for us. When we then consider His victory over death and the grave, we will yield to Him even more heartfelt worship for having heard and valued every Word that God has spoken.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Lord God, great trouble came against Your holy city of old. This was well known to Your prophets, and they warned Your people. Yet those who were called by Your Name still would not hear Your Word. Will we be so foolish? Having the completed Word of truth in the Old and New Testaments, will we consider Your holy Scriptures as nothing? We are defiled by the filth of our wickedness. Our uncleanness is not merely outward and ceremonial. We are unclean within. Grant us ears to hear and hearts to obey by the gift of Your Spirit.