Good morning! We’ve hit Ezekiel… wow…
Ezekiel 1 – 5
What a way to start of… A dream about some creatures spiritually linked to what looked like wheels… How did the chapter end though? With Ezekiel seeing the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord (it had to be the appearance because no man can see the full glory of God without dying) – His response? To fall before the Lord.
I don’t understand what came before it so if anyone has any thoughts about the dream, that would be great!
This is a really interesting book with vivid imagery. for example…
– Ezekiel wasn’t just commanded to speak God’s word but he was told to eat the scroll with God’s Words on it so that he would only speak the word of the Sovereign Lord.
– The Spirit of the Lord picked him up and took him to the exiles. How did Ezekiel feel about this? He went “…in bitterness and in the anger of my spirit, with the strong hand of the Lord upon me…”
God commands Ezekiel to live out His words and be an example to the nation of Israel because of their detestable idols. He commands Ezekiel to say his words, even if they are rejected by Israel. What a hard job… to proclaim a message that is double edged – hope if they repent, destruction and doom if they harden their hearts.
One thing that I thought was interesting – verse 16 – 21. Its about Ezekiel being the watchman that proclaims the danger to come so that the people will see their evil ways. The thing I thought was interesting was that if Ezekiel failed to warn a wicked man, that Ezekiel would have been held accountable for his blood… What I was wondering was where do we fit in post-Jesus – are we held accountable before God for failing to speak up about Jesus? Just to put it out there, we don’t want to share the truth of Jesus as a guilt motivation. Any thoughts…?
I was hoping someone more qualified than me would respond, but I’ll have a go at some of your questions.
My 1st thought is that when reading Ezekiel is that if we use the “Who am I?” tool, we should be seeing ourselves as rebellious Israel, rather than Ezekiel. Ezekiel is many times called by God “Son of man”, which may be allusion to Jesus, the ultimate prophet and messenger of God’s word and coming judgment.
Ezekiel was given a specific calling to be a watchman to Israel and given a scroll directly from God to eat so he would speak God’s words. God also controlled Ezekiel’s mouth so that even his tongue stuck to the roof of his mouth at times.
So in terms of are we accountable for the blood of others if we don’t tell them about Jesus, the closest thing I could find was Acts 20:
26Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of all men. 27For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God.
This is Paul speaking, who also had visions from God and a specific calling from God. Paul also said in 1 Cor 9:
16Yet when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, for I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! 17If I preach voluntarily, I have a reward; if not voluntarily, I am simply discharging the trust committed to me.
I can’t think of any new testament passages that say that Christians are responsible for the blood of unbelievers if we don’t tell them the gospel, but I think we should be motivated by love to do it.
Some good thoughts there Jasmine and David.
Ezekiel is certainly another epic bible book full of huge themes about a huge and awesome God!
The “who am I?” tool that David is referring to is out of an excellent little book on how to read the Bible called “dig deeper”. I can highly recommend it to everyone who wants to get more out of God’s word. However, I would also comment that the “Who am I?” tool has a dual application for Christians. The first, as David has pointed out, is to help us see that we, like Israel, are rebellious people to whom the word of God, the gospel, has come. But we also need to remember that having received the gospel, we are now “in Christ” and “the body of Christ”. As such, we, like Ezekiel, have a role to play, both individually and together, in promoting the gospel of Jesus. Our work “in the Lord” will certainly be tested on the day of judgment and only what is done for God will last. A great example of the New Testament teaching on this is the parable of the “talents” in Matthew 25. While this parable’s application isn’t limited to evangelism in the narrow sense, it is certainly referring to the life that flows out from the gospel which is what God uses to carry out his mission in the world.
Is this the same as saying that like Ezekiel and Paul we have a “duty of care” to those we know who don’t know Jesus? In the end I think it would be splitting hairs to say it doesn’t. I take the great commission of Matthew 28 to be generally applicable to all Christians for all time. We are all called to be “disciple-making disciples”.
As for motives, We should always aim for pure motives but never let the inevitable impurity in our motives stop us from holding out the word of life.
thanks, Pete and David, for sharing your thoughts! It definitely help hearing your thoughts. I haven’t had a chance to read “dig deeper” yet but it sounds like a great thing to read, particularly as I read through the old testament 🙂
I am realising more and more just how great the news of Jesus is and the need to share it comes out of joy from being saved, not out of obligation (something I used to struggle with). What a great privilege we have to share the good news of Jesus dying for sins and raising us to life!