Friday, September 11, 2009

Radical Obedience

Ezekiel 24:15-18
(15) The word of the LORD came to me:
(16) "Son of man, behold, I am about to take the delight of your eyes away from you at a stroke; yet you shall not mourn or weep, nor shall your tears run down.
(17) Sigh, but not aloud; make no mourning for the dead. Bind on your turban, and put your shoes on your feet; do not cover your lips, nor eat the bread of men."
(18) So I spoke to the people in the morning, and at evening my wife died. And on the next morning I did as I was commanded.

This has always been a difficult passage for me. I try to imagine how I would feel if I received word from the Lord that He was going to take my wife from me. Ezekiel got this word and then had to deal with it really coming to pass. Through it all he was faithful.

The passage goes on to describe the shock of the people:

Ezekiel 24:19-24
(19) And the people said to me, "Will you not tell us what these things mean for us, that you are acting thus?"
(20) Then I said to them, "The word of the LORD came to me:
(21) 'Say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I will profane my sanctuary, the pride of your power, the delight of your eyes, and the yearning of your soul, and your sons and your daughters whom you left behind shall fall by the sword.
(22) And you shall do as I have done; you shall not cover your lips, nor eat the bread of men.
(23) Your turbans shall be on your heads and your shoes on your feet; you shall not mourn or weep, but you shall rot away in your iniquities and groan to one another.
(24) Thus shall Ezekiel be to you a sign; according to all that he has done you shall do. When this comes, then you will know that I am the Lord GOD.'

Talk about an object lesson! This definitely got the people's attention. One wonders if it was really necessary. Did God really have to use such a powerful lesson? Apparently He did.

God is very serious about His name. He is also very serious about the covenants He makes. Sadly, we are not so serious about these things. We need to get smacked on the head from time to time. I don't really know how I would do if I were in Ezekiel's shoes. I don't really want to find out. However, I do know that God is good and what He does is good because He defines what is truly good. It is not up to me to decide whether His actions are right. They are right because He is the one who does them. May we always remember that.

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