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OPENING PRAYER

God, I want to bring hope to those in this world, but in truth.

 

Read: EZEKIEL 4:1-8; 5:1-13

[1] “Now, son of man, take a block of clay, put it in front of you and draw the city of Jerusalem on it. [2] Then lay siege to it: Erect siege works against it, build a ramp up to it, set up camps against it and put battering rams around it. [3] Then take an iron pan, place it as an iron wall between you and the city and turn your face toward it. It will be under siege, and you shall besiege it. This will be a sign to the people of Israel. [4] “Then lie on your left side and put the sin of the people of Israel upon yourself. You are to bear their sin for the number of days you lie on your side. [5] I have assigned you the same number of days as the years of their sin. So for 390 days you will bear the sin of the people of Israel. [6] “After you have finished this, lie down again, this time on your right side, and bear the sin of the people of Judah. I have assigned you 40 days, a day for each year. [7] Turn your face toward the siege of Jerusalem and with bared arm prophesy against her. [8] I will tie you up with ropes so that you cannot turn from one side to the other until you have finished the days of your siege.

 

Reflect: WHAT IS THE MESSAGE EZEKIEL IS BRINGING?

We know that at this time the city of Jerusalem was still standing with its walls, Templeand fine buildings intact. That is why the outline of the city can be drawn on a clay tablet(4:1). But that is not the end of the matter– much worse is to come. There will be aprolonged siege (4:1-8), famine (4:16,17), and many violent deaths by sword and fire(5:1-6). This is to be the judgment on a city which has abused its privileges and turnedaway from its God. And Ezekiel’s task is not merely to tell the people of this comingjudgment, but to act it all out– for 430 days (4:4-8)!The destruction of God’s holy city is disaster enough, but “the fire will spread from thereto all Israel” (5:4). As with a forest fire, it is almost impossible to contain the flames– agraphic image of the all-destructive power of evil in the life of a community. Today, asthen, the church has the awesome task of being a kind of Fire Service committed toquenching the flames of evil and unbelief, so that they do not get the better of us.We know that at this time the city of Jerusalem was still standing with its walls, Temple
and fine buildings intact. That is why the outline of the city can be drawn on a clay tablet
(4:1). But that is not the end of the matter– much worse is to come. There will be a
prolonged siege (4:1-8), famine (4:16,17), and many violent deaths by sword and fire
(5:1-6). This is to be the judgment on a city which has abused its privileges and turned
away from its God. And Ezekiel’s task is not merely to tell the people of this coming
judgment, but to act it all out– for 430 days (4:4-8)!The destruction of God’s holy city is disaster enough, but “the fire will spread from there
to all Israel” (5:4). As with a forest fire, it is almost impossible to contain the flames– a
graphic image of the all-destructive power of evil in the life of a community. Today, as
then, the church has the awesome task of being a kind of Fire Service committed to
quenching the flames of evil and unbelief, so that they do not get the better of us.

 

APPLY

Take a walk with the Lord. Talk with him as you would talk to a friend.

 

CLOSING PRAYER

Help me, holy Lord, to be a calming and a purifying influence in my part of Your world.

 

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