Wednesday

15 February 2017

“Then I ate it; and in my mouth, it was as sweet as honey.” (v. 3)

Psalm: Psalm 106:43-48


Background

The word of God written on the scroll tastes as sweet as honey to Ezekiel, although the words he would speak would cause bitterness and distress. In a very similar version of the same image (Revelation 10:9) we are told that although it tastes at sweet as honey, it will make the stomach bitter. Likewise, at the end of his vision in verse 14, Ezekiel feels bitterness in his spirit.

The people to whom Ezekiel is sent are the people of Israel living in exile in Babylon. God tells him that it should be a simple task given that they speak the same language. You would have thought they would listen to Ezekiel if God sent him. But no, they will not listen because they have "a hard forehead and a stubborn heart" (v. 8). They are simply not willing.

So God equips Ezekiel to deal with this by giving him a hard forehead made of the hardest stone (verse 9). Some translations name this stone as adamant which would be very appropriate. It is worth noting that the name Ezekiel means 'God strengthens' or 'God hardens'. So Ezekiel, living up to his name is now equipped for the task, strengthened by God to declare God's words whether the people listen or not.

At this point Ezekiel is lifted up by the spirit. Whether this means a physical movement or not is impossible to say. But the vision is coming to an end and the image of God is departing with the loud noise and much rumbling. Perhaps like an aircraft taking off, the glory of the Lord rises and departs and Ezekiel is taken back to the normal experience of living in this world where is task is about to begin.


To Ponder

  • "Taste and see that the Lord is good" (Psalm 34:8). To what extent has this been your experience?
  • Have you experienced a time when Scripture caused a bitterness in your spirit? How did you deal with this?
  • What might God be saying today that is being ignored?


Bible notes author: The Revd Jonathan Mead

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