Things I learned in Ezekiel – Week 3

Lest you ever think you have it hard, read Ezekiel. Ever lain on your right side for 390 days, then your left for 40? Had your spouse die and been forbidden to mourn about it? Called to speak horrible prophecies to entire nations?

Yet Ezekiel’s discomfort is not mentioned in the book. Why? Because it’s not relevant.

God didn’t call Ezekiel to a “be happy” task, but to a “be obedient” one. And Ezekiel did it. God strengthened him for what he called him for. He does no less for us.

Other things I learned in class this week:

1. Get a notebook
I’m collecting some great handouts each week. My Bible is spilling over with folded sheets of paper crammed in between its pages.

2. How the book is structured
There are five basic parts. I’ve copied a portion of a poem to help explain each section, from The Bible in Verse by Alvy E. Ford.

        A. Chapters 1-3: Ezekiel’s call

Voice of all voices Ezekiel hears, 
Telling the prophet to preach without fears.
He, to a house of rebellion, is sent,
Told to exhort, and to never relent.

       B. Chapters 4-24: Judgment against Jerusalem Siege replica
Ezekiel relays a message to the Jewish exiles with him in Babylon about God’s coming judgment against Jerusalem. Through special stories and actions, Ezekiel demonstrates what God is about to do.

Takes up a tile, and builds a mock town; 
Sets up an army to batter it down;
Lies on his left side, and then on his right;
Cooking with dung; doing all in plain sight.

        C. Chapters 25-32: Judgment against surrounding nations
What are the sins of the other nations? For one thing, they are either too happy about Jerusalem’s fall or they are exploitive of it. God doesn’t take well to anyone mocking his people, especially while he himself is punishing those people.

Prophesies now of the Ammonites fate,
Moab and Edom, because of their hate.
Seir and Philistia get their reward.
All must encounter the hand of the Lord.

        D. Chapters 33-39: Promise of restoration
Why? For the sake of HIS name. God promises them a true Shepherd who will bring the flock back to good pasture. He will show his greatness and holiness and make himself known as LORD in the sight of many nations.

Mountains of Israel now are addressed;
They shall be seeded and builded and blessed.
She had gone down in idolatrous shame;
God will redeem her, to honor His name.

        E. Chapters 40-48: Vision of the future Jerusalem
The book ends with a glorious vision: God’s glory inhabiting a new temple. 

Each tribe is mentioned, and given his lot,
Temple of God in the midst of the plot.
City is measured, and found to be square.
Name of the city, THE LORD HE IS THERE.

3. Thematic tools
God uses a variety of thematic tools in Ezekiel: visions, parables, symbolic signs, and laments. As Robert points out, God’s thumbprints are all over it – through repeating symbols (vines, the Garden of Eden), through contrasts (condemns/blesses), and through repeated phrases (“word of the LORD came to me”,“son of man”).

Through it all, the recurring theme remains: Know that God is LORD.

* * *

NEXT WEEK 4: The Repeating Message: “They will know that I am the LORD

More Ezekiel notes
Class outline



Anonymous said...

What class are you taking that is studying Ezekiel?

Lisa notes... said...

It's a class at my church on Wednesday nights for the fall quarter. I admit I was a little reluctant at first to sign up for it because Ezekiel has always been a confusing book in my mind, but I'm really enjoying it so far.


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