Ezekiel 12-14

The Ministry of Ezekiel

God has called Ezekiel to be a prophet to the people Nebuchadnezzar had taken to Babylon from Jerusalem. Ezekiel was in line to be a priest but God knew that soon there would be no temple for Ezekiel to serve in. From these captives God is going to draw out a remnant of people who will put their faith in God and will one day return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple and the city. However, right now what Ezekiel has to work with is a rebellious people who will not seek or listen to God.

Even though the people are prone to not listening, God has charged Ezekiel to proclaim the words God has given him. Back in Chapter 3 God made it clear that if he does not warn the people he will be responsible for their sins. If he does warn the people and they refuse to repent, the people will be responsible for their sins. God’s standard for success is not the number of converts Ezekiel has but his obedience to God’s direction. The same is true for us.

Ezekiel is to not only speak the words God gives him, but to also act them out. This is the way God is going to get the attention of those who are deaf and blind to God. They are deaf and blind because they are looking and listening to the false prophets who were saying Nebuchadnezzar would be defeated within two years and they would return to Jerusalem.

God gave Ezekiel a prophesy that, when fulfilled, will dash this hope. The prophesy speaks of the capture of the king as he tries to escape the siege against Jerusalem. When he is captured Nebuchadnezzar will have his sons killed before the king’s eyes and then he will be blinded and brought to Babylon, fulfilling the prophesy that he would be brought to Babylon but not see it.

It would seem the people would turn to God as a result of this event but there are still obstacles in the way that are keeping their hearts hard toward God. They have whitewashed their sins and used that white wash to hide the fact that in their hearts they trust in idols and have idolized the world. Jesus confronted the scribes and Phariseees of the same thing which was causing their hearts to be hard as well. He said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.” Matthew 23:27 NASB

Again, as news arrives of the siege against Jerusalem, the people in exile hopefully will understand that in the trial the whitewash of hypocrisy will be washed away and what is really in the heart will be exposed.

The Church faces the same kinds of temptations and trials. We need to be careful that we are not misled by false teachers or idolize the things of the world. We too need to be careful what we hide in our heart. Are we trying to show that we are something that we are not? Are we going to church but living for the world? Are we in church but not listening? Sitting in the pew but looking out the window or checking our phone for messages? God is working in our lives and in the world. Do we see His hand at work? Or are we in danger of becoming blind by going after the things the world offers? Will we listen and obey or blow off the message?

I take Chapter 14 as a warning.

Pastor Dave