Tuesday

14 February 2017

“And when he spoke to me, a spirit entered into me and set me on my feet.” (v. 2)

Psalm: Psalm 106:1-8


Background

In some Bible translations, God addresses Ezekiel as "Son of Man". Although the term was later used and developed by Daniel before Jesus took the name for himself, here it is probably a simple reference to Ezekiel's mortal humanity rather than anything messianic.

The word of God is at the heart of this passage. In verse 2, with God's words, God's spirit enters Ezekiel so that he is able to stand up. Perhaps reminiscent of God breathing life into Adam (Genesis 2:7), it is clear that even though Ezekiel is just a frail mortal human, God doesn't want Ezekiel to be paralysed before him but upright and ready for action. And the action is clear; God is sending Ezekiel to the house of Israel, whom he describes as a rebellious house (verse 3).

We are not told how Ezekiel feels about this; any fears he may have had are seen off by God's clear instruction not to be afraid (verse 6). It is clear that trouble lies ahead in the form of words and looks that will feel like briers and thorns from the people who are described as scorpions. The people may refuse to hear what has been said even if they know the words are truthful. However, the most important thing is not how the people respond to his message but the fact that God has sent him and he has obeyed.

Ezekiel is then presented with a scroll that he is expected to eat (verses 8-10). Any scroll that was normally produced would only have words on one side but this scroll has words on both. The intention is not to save papyrus, but to leave no room for any words that don't belong to God. The words are full of lamentation, mourning and woe.


To Ponder

  • Ezekiel's words to Israel were commanded to be spoken no matter the response. Is it enough for someone to preach on the High Street without getting any response from passers-by?
  • Did Ezekiel have any free will? Do you?


Bible notes author: The Revd Jonathan Mead 

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