10 August 2010

Ezekiel 2:8 - 3:4

"Open your mouth and eat what I give you." (2:8)


Sometimes we have to 'eat our own words' and they can taste very bitter. Perhaps what we might have predicted has turned out quite differently or, when correct, would be better applied to ourselves than others. Not so the words of the Lord, they are sweet as honey.

Bitter or sweet words we have 'eaten' become a very part of us. We have to own them. We can do no other because they are from inside us. So it is with Ezekiel. The hand (perhaps that of the one 'like a man' he saw in his initial vision) gives him a scroll to eat, on which are written the words of the Lord. Now he must make them his own.

Not that the message is sweet - even if the scroll was. And what's more there is a double dose, because scrolls are not usually written on both sides as this one is. The reason is that the words of the message are going to elicit from the people lament, mourning and woe.

Ezekiel is to take this message to the people - even though he has already been warned that he is unlikely to get a hearing. Such is the task of the prophet.

To Ponder

When have you had to 'eat your own words'? How did you feel?

Can you think of a time when you had to convey a message that caused upset for others. How did you do it?

Bible notes author

The Revd Dr John CA Emmett

John worked as a research physicist in the nuclear power industry before ordination and circuit appointments in Swindon and Bath. He is currently director of programmes and research at Wesley College, Bristol.