As I mentioned last week, Ezekiel and Jeremiah both lived to see their prophecies of Judah’s exile come true. This was a hard time to endure and difficult to have to witness. It prompted Jeremiah (under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) to write Lamentations, which I’ll discuss a bit next week.
Ezekiel also had several tough assignments. One in particular is found in Ezekiel 24:15-24.
The word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, behold, I am about to take the delight of your eyes away from you at a stroke; yet you shall not mourn or weep, nor shall your tears run down. Sigh, but not aloud; make no mourning for the dead. Bind on your turban, and put your shoes on your feet; do not cover your lips, nor eat the bread of men.” So I spoke to the people in the morning, and at evening my wife died. And on the next morning I did as I was commanded. And the people said to me, “Will you not tell us what these things mean for us, that you are acting thus?” Then I said to them, “The word of the LORD came to me: ‘Say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I will profane my sanctuary, the pride of your power, the delight of your eyes, and the yearning of your soul, and your sons and your daughters whom you left behind shall fall by the sword. And you shall do as I have done; you shall not cover your lips, nor eat the bread of men. Your turbans shall be on your heads and your shoes on your feet; you shall not mourn or weep, but you shall rot away in your iniquities and groan to one another. Thus shall Ezekiel be to you a sign; according to all that he has done you shall do. When this comes, then you will know that I am the Lord GOD.’
God told Ezekiel that his wife was going to die and he was not to mourn so that he could demonstrate a picture for the Israelite’s of how they were going to act when Jerusalem is destroyed. This reminds me of Aaron (Moses’ brother), when God anointed him as high priest over Israel. Soon after, his son’s (also anointed as priests) burned incense outside of the guidelines specified by God, and they were struck dead (Leviticus 10:1-11). Aaron was told not to mourn as an illustration to the Israelite’s of the seriousness that God puts on obedience to Him. Sometimes we are asked by God to do difficult things or carry difficult messages, and we need to be willing to be obedient to Him.
Jeremiah ended up staying in Judah after Jerusalem was destroyed and the exiles were taken to Babylon. Ezekiel, though, went to Babylon. We’ll look at more of the events there over the next few weeks.