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Monday, September 16, 2013

Ezekiel 4:3

Moreover take thou unto thee an iron pan, and set it for a wall of iron between thee and the city: and set thy face against it, and it shall be besieged, and thou shalt lay siege against it. This shall be a sign to the house of Israel.

For further study - Ezekiel 4:1-17

The last ten words of our key verse in our devotional reading for today, "this shall be a sign to the house of Israel", expresses not only the 4th chapter, our extended reading for today, but the entire book of Ezekiel as it records the life and ministry of a unique man who God gave a unique ministry.

What God would have Ezekiel do as a "street preacher" in front of the Jewish people, Ezekiel's own people, would indeed be a "sign" to the "whole house of Israel". Even the "tile" with Jerusalem drawn upon it and the "iron pan" that Ezekiel would use were both object lessons to the Jewish captives who had been taken into the Babylonian Captivity.

The Lord then has His prophet to lay in the street on his "left side" for 390 days and then on his "right side" for 40 days for a total of 430 days. Each day was to represent a year of judgment to come upon the Jews.

The Lord realized that His prophet would get both hungry and thirsty during his "street" ministry. The Lord made provision for Ezekiel to have about 8 ounces of meat every day, verse 10, and about one quart of water each day, verse 11.

Ezekiel would receive all the ingredients for the prophet to make his bread daily and then God gave him very strange instructions. God told Ezekiel that he was to bake his bread over a fire made out of "human excrement" that was the result of a "bowel movement" done in public, verse 12.

Please excuse what may seem to you vulgarity but I am simply quoting the text. This strange method of baking the bread was for the purpose of revealing to the Jews that they would eat "defiled bread" among the Gentiles as part of their judgment.

This was an action that conveyed to the Jews the seriousness of their sin. You will notice that the Lord did ease up on the baking of the bread and told Ezekiel that he could substitute "cow dung" for "human dung".

I chose this passage to illustrate to each of us the extent, and seriousness of God's judgment upon His people, the Jewish people.

I also believe that this passage best illustrates how a man who sees the "Glory of the Lord", Ezekiel 1:28will be obedient to the Lord no matter what He calls him to do.

You may say, "But how can we see the Glory of the Lord?" The Psalmist told us in chapter 19"the heavens declare the Glory of the Lord". That 19th Psalm also says that all of creation reveals the "Glory of the Lord".

Our problem is that we don't take advantage of the opportunities we have to look and see the result of His glory. We must "stop and smell the roses" and observe the "Glory of the Lord" so that we might follow His directions without hesitation.

PRAYER THOT: Help me, to recognize Your "glory", dear Lord, in Your "handiwork" in all of creation and then to be obedient to You.