We are in the Prophetic Stream reading from the World English Bible.
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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis
Lord, we need to realize from this painful symbolism and judgement today that all you want is for us to acknowledge that you are God, and for us to like like we know this. May we learn from the huge mistakes of others and not “go there” ourselves. Amen.
Do not forget that Ezekiel was taken as a captive to Babylon in 597. B.C. He begins prophesying 592 B.C. It is six years before the siege of Jerusalem. This siege of Jerusalem is the issue that Ezekiel revolves around as he writes “Ezekiel”. The book pivots around the destruction of Jerusalem; it’s not a book about Ezekiel. So he is prophesying from 592 to 570 B.C. – 22 years. This chapter is written during the ‘first quarter’ of his writing years.
4 – Ezekiel is to make a model of Jerusalem and enact the siege that is imminent for Jerusalem; build ramps and battering rams and the whole bit. It’s like a kid who is building model cars during the decade before he is driving a real car. Ezekiel is trying to insert some reality into the minds of the Jewish people who were already in captivity, when the worst of the destruction of Jerusalem is yet coming. Many were pining to return to Jerusalem and it was aterrible time to be wanting to go back there and get caught in the “hailstorm” of violence and likey get killed. We see Ezekiel getting peculiar instructions from God that involve him in the pathos of the coming event of Jerusalem’s getting r-a-z-e-d to the ground. His diet is a bread that he is to make. You can buy this extremely healthy bread today. It’s called “Ezekiel 4:9 Bread” in specialty bakeries and stores. The introduction of it here is initially revolting but God wants to reiterate that he has a healthy plan for them although they have chosen poorly and unhealthy living for a long time.
5 – God is about to unleash what the inhabitants of Jerusalem had never thought they would see – a day of reckoning. They had been worse than putrid and it was time to end the wickedness. Remember, other nations had been equally worse but God had never called these others to righteousness like He had called the Hebrews. God punished and finished off those others. God is punishing and putting the Judeans in a painful “time out” for 70 years for the purpose of sobering them up to live righteously as a testimony. His goal is to restore. Unfortunately the horrid scenes described in ch. 5 is the only way to get their attention. And it is all going to happen soon. Ezekiel’s hair being cut, burned and scattered is a poignant way to make the point clear, though it’s odd. Ezekiel is going to look like “Mr. Clean” for a bit but God is just trying the clean up the Hebrew nation. There may have been simpler ways but it hadn’t worked on these stubborn people yet.
6 – reads like the opening verse of a funeral march. There is poetry and strange beauty to some of the symbolism and nature scenes but it gets into the punishment phase quickly. Lest anyone get a notion to go pathetic and all bleeding heart thinking God needs to do more yoga and mellow out a bit, remember God is bent on stopping the idolatry and prostitution and Satanic behavior in a city where they have been sacrificing human infants live in bonfires! The place was out of control and the wretchedness needed to stop. If they wouldn’t stop it, God would tear down the idols Himself. And He will assign a pagan people to do His work for Him. Yes He would.
7 – And in ‘7’ the painful funeral song continues: Much of it sounds similar to what began in ‘6’. But the whole reason that God is letting the cleansing begin, painful as it all is, is that God wants them to know that God is God. They had been acting upon their notion of practical atheism, hadn’t they? Well, God is God. Lest we say, “uh, duh!” -they needed to wake up, smell the bacon and reckon with the fact that their behavior had demonstrated allegiance to pagan gods. That had to stop. This dirty lowdown would prove effective this time. The punishment coming [right around the bend] for the inhabitants of Jerusalem was terrible, but it would work. The Hebrews, granted were human, and did not attain to perfection by any means, but the idolatry that had marred their culture, they never sunk to that level of darkness again.