As you read Ezekiel 4, you are tempted to shake your head at the antics of this prophet of God. Ezekiel draws a map of Jerusalem and begins to play “army” around the city. The spectacle might have caused the people watching to say, “Grow up, Ezekiel!” The next antic was to lay on his side, one day for every year of the house of Israel and Judah’s iniquity. Laying around for over a year, can’t you hear the people saying, “Get up, Ezekiel”? The last charade in chapter four is the worst. Ezekiel makes a scant meal but cooks it over an open flame fueled by cow manure. This would be the last straw for the onlookers. I’m certain they would have thought, “Ezekiel, clean up your act!”
At that moment, I can imagine Ezekiel’s message to the people. The antics have been a picture of what God was doing in Jerusalem—the city would fall to the Babylonians—but it was also a message for the people to repent. They were the ones who needed to clean up their act. As you continue to read, you will see the people sacrifice to false gods in the Temple. This was going on even after the first attack on the city years earlier! Their sacrifices stink to God as much as Ezekiel’s meal stank to the people. They were a people who experienced redemption from slavery, yet they were willingly shackling themselves to the immoral practices of false worship. Their lust for sin left them wallowing. It was time for them to get up from their sin and follow righteousness. They were the ones playing games with God. It about time they grew up. It was time to stop their adolescent rebellion and love God.
Are you playing games with God? It may seem fun for a while to pretend to follow Christ, but the whole time you are shackled to your sin. You are the real loser in the game. All the while you serve your gods of lust and license, but try to show face in church on Sunday. You are offering up a stench to God which turns Him away from you. Ezekiel’s message applies to you and to me even today. It’s time to grow up, get up, and clean up. James 4:7-8 tells us, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.”
Ezekiel’s secret to a life of integrity is this—He was enamoured with the glory of God. Has the awe of God faded in your life? Have you forgotten the sins from which you were purged? Renew your devotion today.
“For this God is our God for ever and ever: He will be our guide even unto death.” (Psalm 48:14)