This week, as we continue our study of Ezekiel, we get to see God confront the society of His people. He keeps proclaiming that destruction is coming, while knowing that the people do not believe Him. Sometimes this can be true for us as well. Ezekiel performs as he always does, knowing that the people will not understand.
Just like in earlier parts of his ministry, God directs Ezekiel to act out a representation of what will happen to the Israelites. This time, Ezekiel will be demonstrating that the people will be exiled from Jerusalem. Ezekiel is to pack of all of his belongings and leave the city. He tells the people, “I’m a sign for you. As I’ve done, so it will be done to them. They will go into exile, into captivity” (Ezekiel 12:12, Goldingay). God declares that when they people are taken into exile, it will be to the land of Babylon, and the people will be scattered out among their enemies. This scattering will cause people to remember that their God.
If the Lord fails me at this time, it will be the first time.George Mueller
When the people are taken into exile, their land is to be utterly destroyed by their enemies. This will cause them to live with great anxiety and fear as they will see the consequences of disobeying God. Ezekiel prophesies to the people, “The Lord Yahweh has said the concerning Yerushalaim’s inhabitants in the land of Yisra’el: ‘They will eat their bread with anxiety and drink their water in desolation, in order that their country may be desolate of what fill it because of the violence of all the people who live in it.'” (Ezekiel 12:19, Goldingay). The people will live in great fear, but this will ultimately bring them back to knowing God.
In faith there is enough light for those who want to believe and enough shadows to blind those who don’tBlaise Pascal
The thing that strikes me the most about this chapter is how it is ended. Apparently it had become a way of belief that God may speak, but it will be a long time before He does anything about it. God tells Ezekiel, “Young man, what’s this saying that you have in the land of Yisra’el, ‘Days grow long and every vision perishes’? Therefore say to them, ‘The Lord Yahweh has said this: ‘I shall make this saying stop. They won’t say it any more in Yisra’el.'” (Ezekiel 12:22-23, Goldingay). God no longer wishes to be known for not doing as He says. The desolation that Ezekiel is prophesying will come about in the people’s lifetime. God will now be known as someone who does as He says. I do not think that God was ever truly known for this, but the prophets were never seen with much respect in their lifetimes. They often died before their visions came true. God is saying that this will not be the case for Ezekiel; he will see this desolation come to fruition.
God means what he says. However, God’s timing is not our own. Peter wrote in one of his epistles, “do not let this one face escape your notice, beloved, that which the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:8-9, NASB). God’s timing is perfect. We tend to be impatient when it comes to the things we want, or think God should be doing for us and in the world. When I pray, I get frustrated when my prayer is not answered within minutes. When I see wrong done, I feel like God is blind when He does not act. The truth is God cares deeply for His creation. He acts when He deems it appropriate. We have to have faith that God doing what is right and perfect.