05 July 2011

"Therefore say to them, Thus says the Lord God: None of my words will be delayed any longer, but the world that I speak will be fulfilled, declares the Lord God." (v. 28)


Ezekiel would have grown up expecting to serve in the temple in Jerusalem, as he came from a priestly family. But he was in exile in Babylon along with the Judeans taken there by Nebuchadnezzar in 597BC. Called by God, Ezekiel was a man of vision, who prophesied the eventual destruction of the temple because of the idolatrous worship that had been introduced within its walls. His message was that this period of exile was from the hand of God as judgement against the people's sin, that they might repent and turn back to him.

One of the problems that prophets face is that of opposition. There are always going to be scoffers who make fun of a prophetic word. So it was that God's word comes to Ezekiel against the saying of the day that "every vision comes to nothing" (v. 21)!

But that is a dangerous attitude to take. A long term view of God's dealings with people shows that God's promises and judgements do come to fruition, albeit in God's time not ours.

The problem was rather like that of the people of Jesus' day, who had become indifferent to God. They knew in their hearts that their behaviour was wrong and they were guilty of breaking the laws which Moses had brought to them, but they were still convinced that they had got away with it. "It hasn't happened yet, therefore it's not going to happen!" they might have said.

But that attitude is as sensible as someone living in California's earthquake zone saying the same. The 'Big One' will happen; it's just a question of time. That's the urgency of the gospel message, of course. The call to repentance is always 'Now!' but so many put it off on the basis that it can wait until they are ready!

"You think I don't act?" says God through Ezekiel. "Watch this space!"

To Ponder

It is so easy to think that God works to our time schedule. How impatient are you with God?

The world as we know it could be said to be different from that of Ezekiel's time. How does the gospel imperative to 'go out and make disciples' affect our outlook and view of mission?

Bible notes author: John Birch

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