I decided to read Ezekiel because I have never read this book before; I don’t know much about this particular Old Testament figure. As I read chapters four and five, I began to think that this Old Testament book had little relevance for me. These chapters described what Ezekiel was to do to show the Jews their fate and convince them that they were rebelling against the Lord. Things like lying on his left side for 390 days and his right for 40, and exact details about what to eat and how to cook it (not very appetizing by the way). In chapter five, the Lord explains what these actions represent and the anger he has towards Jerusalem because of their disobedience and rebellion. He vows to pursue them with destruction and strike them with plagues and famine, he says that most will die: “For I will pursue them (the Jews) with drawn sword (v.2); “A fire will spread from there to the whole house of Israel” (v. 4) “Plague and bloodshed will sweep through you…” (v 17).
Suddenly, I understand the relevance. This is a picture of God’s anger caused by disobedience. Yikes! I, myself, have disobeyed the Lord – I am deserving of this same wrath and judgement. There is no avoiding sin. Romans 3:23 reminds us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” God hates that sin. These people were guilty of turning their back on the Lord and giving their love and attention to false gods. I may not have a bronze statue on my bedroom dresser that I bow down to each morning, but I know there are things in my life that get more love and attention than the God who created me. I deserve, we deserve, the sword, fire, plague, and bloodshed that God threatened in Ezekiel because we, too, are a rebellious nation.
The book of Ezekiel is relevant to the modern sinner because we are no longer subject to the punishment endured by the Old Testament Jews because God’s wrath was placed on HIS very own son instead of us! Reading about how angry sin makes God makes me realize and appreciate the death of Christ even more. Sometimes it’s a gift we take for granted. You and I are deserving of plague, death, and destruction, but God sent his own son to bear the weight of our sins and to take that punishment from us. A new perspective given by the Old Testament helps me better understand the sacrifice of Christ’s death described in the New Testament.
Father thank you for reminding me of my sin and the punishment that I deserve. You are a powerful God who despises disobedience. Lord, I know that I am incapable of perfect obedience. Thank you so much, Father, for the amazing sacrifice of your own son to suffer my punishment. Lord help me to live in gratitude, love, and service to you.