Ezekiel 12:1-2; 17-25

The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, you dwell in the midst of a rebellious house, who have eyes to see, but see not, who have ears to hear, but hear not, for they are a rebellious house.

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And the word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, eat your bread with quaking, and drink water with trembling and with anxiety. And say to the people of the land, Thus says the Lord God concerning the inhabitants of Jerusalem in the land of Israel: They shall eat their bread with anxiety, and drink water in dismay. In this way her land will be stripped of all it contains, on account of the violence of all those who dwell in it. And the inhabited cities shall be laid waste, and the land shall become a desolation; and you shall know that I am the Lord.”

And the word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, what is this proverb that you have about the land of Israel, saying, ‘The days grow long, and every vision comes to nothing’? Tell them therefore, ‘Thus says the Lord God: I will put an end to this proverb, and they shall no more use it as a proverb in Israel.’ But say to them, The days are near, and the fulfillment of every vision. For there shall be no more any false vision or flattering divination within the house of Israel. For I am the Lord; I will speak the word that I will speak, and it will be performed. It will no longer be delayed, but in your days, O rebellious house, I will speak the word and perform it, declares the Lord God.”

Ezekiel was given the tough task of communicating a word from God to God’s people who had ears to hear, but were spiritually deaf and hard hearted because of their rebellion and worship of other gods (verses 1-2).  

God is not powerless in the face of ears that will not hear and eyes that will not see; One way or another, He will get His message through. God calls Ezekiel to not only proclaim His truth to His people, but to perform street theater to create visuals and to grab their attention. The messages of Ezekiel were designed to penetrate past the blind eyes into people’s consciousness. These visual images were seeds of truth waiting to germinate into an awareness of the reality of God and His purposes in history.

If you could summarize this sermon in one sentence, it would be: God has spoken; God is still speaking.

Unpalatable Words 

Truth is not always palatable. In fact, it is often unpalatable. Even truth said in love can be hard to chew much less swallow. We do not have palates that crave the kind of truth that Ezekiel was communicating from God. The unpalatable truth was this, “All would come to know that there is a God and there is judgement on sin”.

This is not an easy truth to accept. Romans 3:23 grates against our current American culture where positive thinking carries massive weight; sin and judgement is considered out of place. There is a scriptural reality that every sin separates us from God’s love - as North Americans we would like to think more optimistically.

However, the biblical perspective is ruthlessly honest about our own failures and their consequences. This truth is important because only those whose eyes have been opened to the true danger of their position as objects of God’s wrath will be persuaded to flee to the refuge that God offers - Jesus Christ.

The book of Ezekiel is not very palatable. God has a goal with His words and actions - “And you shall know that I am the Lord” (verse 17). And yet we can feel like God’s people in our text; God’s words are just one big proverb that never comes to pass (verse 22).

How do you handle the unpalatable words of God? Has God spoken some tough things to you? What have been your responses? Do you tend to numb yourself to spiritual truth? 

God has spoken; God is still speaking.

The Word Became Flesh

Ezekiel becomes a visual aid to communicate the truth of God and words of God. 

John 1:1 calls Jesus the Word,

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 1:14 says of Jesus, 

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

We see the glory of God (the manifest reality of His holiness and beauty) in Jesus. The glory (the physical weight) of God is seen in Jesus. God wants to be seen and known in His Son. 

Supremely, God’s self-revelation of His own existence and of the reality of judgement on sin comes to us in the person of Jesus Christ. His life, death, and resurrection are God’s ultimate acts of judgement on sin and salvation of His people. Since sin separates us from God’s love, Jesus was separated from His Father on the cross.

Furthermore, the resurrection of Jesus visibly demonstrates God’s acceptance of Jesus’ death in place of His people. The cross and the empty tomb are God’s definitive visual aids. Today, through the work of the Holy Spirit, God opens the eyes and ears of the spiritually blind to the reality of salvation through Jesus Christ. Everyone is eligible to be incorporated into God’s family! On the last day, His lordship will be universal (Philippians 2:9-11).

What is true in our text in Ezekiel will be true as God one day finishes the redemptive story that we are now in the middle of: “The gospel will not sound like a proverb any longer - fulfillment is coming - every word spoken will be performed” (verses 23; 25). 

God has spoken; God is still speaking. 

We Are Verbal And Visual Witnesses

In the meantime, we as the people of Jesus, have a unique role to play as signs and as witnesses before a watching world (Acts 1:8). Paul says that we are a letter from Christ to the world around us (2 Corinthians 3:3). Our testimony, like Ezekiel’s witness, must not only be verbal but also visual - aimed at both the eyes and ears of people. We use words for those that have ears to hear - but to those whose ears are deaf, they must see the Word become flesh again in the lives of His followers. 

We are to make clear the danger of being without Christ, but we must also make the love of God visibly clear in word and deed - that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). 

God has spoken; God is still speaking. 

And you shall know that I am the Lord


Via Communities

Our Via Communities are our primary discipleship tool. This section is to help you as you discuss the sermon with others in your life. It is designed for communities to utilize but can be used to facilitate a conversation between spouses, good friends, co-workers, etc., as we live to be faithful to God’s mission in his world.

BLESS RHYTHMS

This simple acronym (BLESS, B - Bless, L - Listen, E - Eat, S - Speak, S - Sabbath) should help you to frame your life according to the great commandment “love God” (Matthew 22:37) and the expression of that commandment in loving your neighbor (John 13:34). Each time you meet, start by discussing the rhythms of your life according to B.L.E.S.S.

Bless
Intentionally bless: Christ-followers, non-believers and those different than you.

Listen
Listen to what God is saying to you, through His Word and others.

Eat
Share a meal with a Christ-follower and also a non-believer.

Speak
Talk to God through prayer and to others about Jesus through witness.

Sabbath
Be intentional about taking time to both rest and recreate.

GOSPEL TRANSFORMATION

The Gospel is powerful. The good news of Jesus changes us. This section is to record the ways you are noticing the good news of Jesus transforming your life. Jot notes to help you remember.

As we examined God’s Word, in what ways was His Word examining you?

Describe how Jesus is becoming more central in your life.

What does trusting in Jesus look like for you this week?