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The Prophet’s Wife Dies

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Sexual impurity has become rampant in the church because we’ve ignored the costly work of obedience to God’s standards as individuals, asking too often, “How far can I go and still be called a Christian?” We’ve crafted an image and may even seem sexually pure whil … More

Obedience
The Lord announced to Ezekiel that his beloved wife (The desire of your eyes)was about to die suddenly (vv 15-18). However, as an object lesson to Israel, the Lord commanded the prophet not to mourn outwardly over her death, as was the custom (vv. 20-24). Instead he could only groan to himself. He was not allowed to mourn for his dead wife in order to show his fellow exiles that they were not to morn over Jerusalem when it was destroyed. Any personal sorrow felt would soon be eclipsed by national sorrow over the horror of the city’s total destruction. Obeying God can carry a high cost. The only grief more excruciating than losing your spouse and not being allowed to grieve would be to lose eternal life because you did not obey.

When his wife died shortly thereafter, Ezekiel obeyed the Lord’s instructions. Ezekiel obeyed God fully, even as Hosea did when he was told to mary an unfaithful woman (Hosea 1:2-3). In both these cases, these unusual events were intended as symbolic acts to picture God’s relationship with His people. When the people observed his silence, they inquired about its significance. He explained that they were not to mourn publicly over the downfall of their beloved city and its temple (vv. 25-27), just as he refused to lament over his wife’s death.

For some time Ezekiel had not been allowed to speak except when God gave him a message to deliver to the people When Jerusalem finally fell, a fugitive would bring Ezekiel the news. At that time the Lord would remove Ezekiel’s muteness (Ezekiel 3:26-27; 33:21-22). He would now speak openly and freely with the survivors of the catastrophe, warning and encouraging them. The restriction would soon end when Jerusalem was destroyed and all of Ezekiel’s prophecies about Judah and Jerusalem had come true (33:21-22).

Application

I should be as whole hearted in my obedience to the Lord as Ezekiel was. I can begin by doing all that God commands me to do, even when I don’t feel like it.

Ezekiel 24:15-27 (English Standard Version)

The word of the LORD came to me: "Son of man, behold, I am about to take the delight of your eyes away from you at a stroke; yet you shall not mourn or weep, nor shall your tears run down. Sigh, but not aloud; make no mourning for the dead. Bind on your turban, and put your shoes on your feet; do not cover your lips, nor eat the bread of men." So I spoke to the people in the morning, and at evening my wife died. And on the next morning I did as I was commanded. And the people said to me, "Will you not tell us what these things mean for us, that you are acting thus?" Then I said to them, "The word of the LORD came to me: 'Say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I will profane my sanctuary, the pride of your power, the delight of your eyes, and the yearning of your soul, and your sons and your daughters whom you left behind shall fall by the sword. And you shall do as I have done; you shall not cover your lips, nor eat the bread of men. Your turbans shall be on your heads and your shoes on your feet; you shall not mourn or weep, but you shall rot away in your iniquities and groan to one another. Thus shall Ezekiel be to you a sign; according to all that he has done you shall do. When this comes, then you will know that I am the Lord GOD.' "As for you, son of man, surely on the day when I take from them their stronghold, their joy and glory, the delight of their eyes and their soul's desire, and also their sons and daughters, on that day a fugitive will come to you to report to you the news. On that day your mouth will be opened to the fugitive, and you shall speak and be no longer mute. So you will be a sign to them, and they will know that I am the LORD."

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