Today we reach Ezekiel, which I am very excited about. For whatever reason, I have been looking forward to starting Ezekiel for quite a while. Other than that it is the inspired word of God, I don’t know exactly why I’m so keen to start this book. In any case, I’m glad I am, and I hope I will have a fruitful few days in this oft-forgotten major prophet.
What strikes me as the book opens is the immediacy and consistency by which Ezekiel suffers at the hand of God. In chapter 1, Ezekiel is brought into the throne room of God where he comes face to face with the Lord of all glory. In chapters 2-4, Jesus speaks to Ezekiel and explains how his life will go and what he is required to do for the Lord.
Speak God’s words and Israel will not hear them (2:1-7)
Eat a scroll (3:1-3)
Lock himself in his house (3:25)
Be bound with ropes(3:25)
Become unable to speak (3:26)
Lie on his left side for 390 days (4:5)
Eat soup cooked with dung (4:11)
Not a particularly glamorous life. But what is most notable about these chapters is that God is the one who sends Ezekiel to do all of this. God uses Ezekiel in extreme ways to warn the people of Israel regarding their rebellion. He was sent out in order to suffer for the Lord.
This flies in the face of some very popular beliefs about what it means to follow God. There is no guarantee of prosperity for the Christian. There is no promise of good health and long life. God does not give us earthly rewards for our faithfulness to Him. Likewise, having chronic health issues does not indicate a lack of faith. Financial ruin is not synonymous with a weak Christianity. Living in poverty has no bearing on your degree of commitment to the Lord.
God calls some of us to suffer greatly for His glory, and He calls all of us to suffer in small ways. But the ultimate end to our suffering is far better than the best of what this world can bring us. In the mind of the Apostle Paul, the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. We may suffer now, but all that pain will pass away and what we will be left with is the overwhelming awesome glory and grace of a loving and faithful God who keeps His promises.
We will not suffer long.