For an introduction to this series, click here.
Sept. 26, 2006
Ezekiel 4 is one of the weirdest passages in the Bible. God tells Ezekiel to lay on his right side for a certain number of days, and then on his left side for another number of days. He was supposed to eat about 4 ounces of bread each day that he baked over a fire made by burning cow dung. I don't know, I just read what's there. It certainly would have been a sight to behold.
A lot of people these days say the recipe that God gave Ezekiel there and is somehow a spiritual food. Just look up "Ezekiel Bread" in your search box some time and you'll see lots of recipes and people selling loaves. But if you read the passage, how the bread was cooked was just as important as the ingredients. If they aren't cooking that "Ezekiel bread" with flaming cow patties, then they're not doing it right. And even if they do, just remember that Paul said that food does not commend ourselves to God. There's no such thing as spiritual food that you put in your physical mouth.
The next three chapters are pronouncing judgment against Israel. One compelling passage is chapter 7:19-21:
They cast their silver into the streets, and their gold is like an unclean thing. Their silver and gold are not able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of the LORD. They cannot satisfy their hunger or fill their stomachs with it. For it was the stumbling block of their iniquity. His beautiful ornament they used for pride, and they made their abominable images and their detestable things of it. Therefore I make it an unclean thing unto them. And I will give it into the hand of foreigners for prey, and to the wicked of the earth for spoil, and they shall profane it. (ESV)
History tells us that just before the fall of both the northern and southern kingdoms of Israel, they enjoyed immense prosperity. It is not obvious when you read the prophets, because they were more concerned with the spiritual condition of the nation rather than the financial condition. But nevertheless it is true. Here Ezekiel says that the accumulated wealth of the people will do them no good in the day of judgment. They will toss out silver and gold like so much gravel in the street. They will gladly trade piles of money for one meal, because there will be no food.
God is able to show us what is really important. It is not money, power, or any of the other things that we place priority on in this world. It is hard when things are going good to depend on God for our needs when we seem to already have them covered, but that is the time we need to rely on Him the most.