Leading up to Ezekiel

Ezekiel by Michelangelo_1508-1512It helps to know the backstory.

Especially when things are complicated. The times of Ezekiel were definitely complicated.

Here’s the short version:
The Jews had been working God’s last nerve. For many centuries. The united Israel split in 931 BC, and God used Assyria to destroy the wicked ten northern tribes of Israel in 722 BC.

Now it was time to deal with the sins of Judah, the two southern tribes whose capital was in Jerusalem. By refusing to give up idolatry (and every other imaginable wickedness), their tragic stage was set.

1st Siege by Babylon, 605 BC
In a 3-stage process, God had King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon first take away some of the prominent citizens of Jerusalem for resettlement in Babylon in 605 BC. This included 15-yr-old Daniel (of the lions’ den fame) and also Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego (of the fiery furnace fame). 

The 18-yr-old Ezekiel was left behind in Jerusalem. Perhaps he still maintained a dream of becoming a priest when he turned 30, despite hearing the warning words of the prophet Jeremiah of impending doom if the Jews looked to Egypt for help instead of God.

2nd Siege by Babylon, 597 BC
Ezekiel’s dreams were dashed in 597 BC, when Nebuchadnezzar sacked Jerusalem a 2nd time, extinguishing any foolish notions of King Jehoiachin of Judah thinking an alignment with Necho of Egypt would spare them.

Ezekiel, along with 10,000 fellow Jews, began a new life in Babylon. But Ezekiel’s life would take a drastic and horrific turn from the normal exile when he turned 30 yrs old (593 BC). God chose to use Ezekiel (literally, “God strengthens”), as a prophet instead of a priest, and he began speaking his own words through Ezekiel for the next 20 years.

3rd Siege by Babylon, 586 BC
Jerusalem will fall.” Over and over, Ezekiel spoke out and lived out this message, often in quite bizarre ways, from 593-586 BC. The final siege of Jerusalem began in 588 BC, during the reign of Judah’s King Zedekiah, and ended with the city’s total destruction in 586 BC and the departure of God’s glory from there.

Ezekiel continued to prophecy of God’s wrath, this time against seven other nations. 

The book of Ezekiel ends with a glorious vision of Israel’s restoration, the new temple, and the return of the Lord’s glory, Jehovah-Shammah, “The Lord is there” (Ezekiel 48:35).

Moral of the story:
Know that God is the Lord
. Trust only in him. Not in armies or rulers or circumstances or idols. They can’t protect you. Only the Lord. Only the Lord.

More Ezekiel notes
Class outline

Class_Outline

4 comments:

Corinne said...

Thank you for this post. It was comforting. On July 13 our only grandchild was born, a boy named Ezekiel. Oh what joy! He was beautiful and healthy, so everyone believed; even the doctor. On July 15, he left his parents arms to rest in the arms of Jesus. Unbelievable grief and ache still remain.
What you wrote, "Know that God is the Lord. Trust only in him. Not in armies or rulers or circumstances or idols. They can’t protect you. Only the Lord. Only the Lord." This gives me such comfort. Only in the Lord does life make any sense or have any purpose.

Lisa notes... said...

Corrine,
I'm so sorry to hear about your little Ezekiel. What a tragedy. I lost a little baby girl a few years back, and not only did I feel the pain but I know my parents and in-laws felt pain from losing the granddaughter. Plus, they had to watch their own daughter/son suffering through grief as well.

So my prayers are with you as you go through this time. I'm glad you are a believer and find comfort in the Lord. He truly is our only source of healing. Blessings to you and your family!

Kay said...

I appreciate your very succinct summary of our last two weeks in the Ezekiel class! It helps to see it like this. I've been struck (and convicted!) in my reading of Ezekiel how jealous God is for the hearts of His people and how much their idolatry grieved Him. I'm also in the midst of a Beth Moore study on Daniel and she had this to say regarding the destruction of Israel:
"The sin and rebellion of God's people ultimately left them defenseless. God's arm was not too short to save, but their iniquities had separated them from their Defender. The powerful King Nebuchadnezzar received the invitation written by their weakness and RSVP'd by looting them... If you're like me, you have also allowed some of your untreated weaknesses to engrave an invitation to the enemy. Satan recognizes the treasures God has given us more than we do.... Satan may bide his time until the opportune moment, but make no mistake - he will RSVP with an acceptance. We'll be the ones left with the regret."

As you said... Know that God is the Lord and trust only in Him.

Lisa notes... said...

Kay,
It helps me to try to put down SOME of the stuff we're getting. Too much to grasp it all. ha. I do like how we're getting more than just the "history" and are seeing into God's heart like what you said.

The Beth Moore quote is so applicable. Thanks for putting it here. That's a great study to be doing at the same time as this one!

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