WHY all the Craziness???

Last time we were introduced to Ezekiel and the hard call on his life. God asked him to live a life that made him stand out in his community and become the butt of the joke. He was the village clown, the one that people ridiculed. Today we are going to look at why God has him do crazy actions – such as cooking his food over animal dung for over a year. We are going to ask why God didn’t allow him to foretell coming events with words.

Looking back to the Spheres of Society series, this topic seems appropriate following on the back of the sphere of communication. Remember when we looked at Communication in Scripture, we saw that our speech and actions go together.

So into Ezekiel:

What were some of the things he had to do? (We call them “enacted symbols”; see end of post for meaning of the symbols)

  1. Mute for 7 years (unable to speak unless God gave him set words to declare)
  2. Unable to leave his house (unless sent somewhere by God)
  3. Lie on his side and build a model of the city of Jerusalem for over a year
  4. Placed an iron griddle between where he lay and the city
  5. Set portions of food and water a day and none too appetising (to make his bread from wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and emmer), which he had to cook over dung.
  6. And so forth…

 So why did Ezekiel have to do these enacted symbols? (see end of post for expanded explanation)

Why could he not just proclaim that God’s judgement was coming upon Judah for their disobedience (the consequence of breaking their covenant/ contract with God)? Here are a few ideas of why they were important (and not just a way of making God’s servant, Ezekiel, look like a fool):

  1. Actions ALWAYS ALWAYS speak louder than words
  2. Actions serve as a memory aid
  3. Actions grab the attention
  4. Actions require obedience to be carried out

APPLICATION TIME:

Are you prepared to stand out in the midst of your culture? If God asked you to do something that your culture deemed ridiculous or foolish, would you be prepared to?

Next blog I’m going to share a testimony of obedience with you, which seemed stupid at the time but had far-reaching impact on my life.

 

Meaning behind the enacted symbols:

  1. Mute for 7 years (unable to speak unless God gave him set words to declare; meaning he could not defend himself or apologise to his wife for being a societal spectacle)
  2. Unable to leave his house (unless sent somewhere by God)
  3. Lie on his side and build a model of the city of Jerusalem (showing that the city would be besieged and would fall to the Babylonians; something that the Jews did not believe God would allow to happen)
    1. 390 days (left side)
    2. 40 days (right side)
    3. Placed an iron griddle between where he lay and the city (to symbolise an iron wall; Jerusalem being cut off from God)
    4. Set portions of food and water a day and none too appetising (to make his bread from wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and emmer), which he had to cook over dung (to symbolise want during the siege and that they would have to eat food unclean according to the Law).

Enacted symbols expanded:

  1. Actions ALWAYS ALWAYS speak louder than words
    1. If you want to know someone’s core beliefs then simply observe them for a couple of days; their actions will reveal their beliefs and priorities
    2. Actions serve as a memory aid
      1. Seeing an action triggers our remembrance
      2. When the event being represented actually happened, it validated everything that he has done; the people knew that Ezekiel had been proclaiming a message from God
      3. Actions grab the attention
        1. Think of TV advertisements today – they grab our attentions and draw us in. The people did not take heed to Ezekiel, but they all wanted to see what crazy thing he was going to do next.
        2. Actions require obedience to be carried out
          1. This one is for Ezekiel – for Ezekiel to do these things takes a tremendous amount of faith. He has lost his ability to communicate as he would and he is choosing everyday to communicate as God is asking of him.
          2. Crazy, unbelievable, unexplainable obedience
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