Ezekiel 24:15-24

"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."

This chapter begins like many passages in Ezekiel, “In the ninth year, in the tenth month, on the tenth day of the month, the word of the Lord came to me:” (verse 1). 

Ezekiel was a man who knew his dates. His whole book is organized around carefully recorded dates in which he received from God to pass on to the people. But there are two dates that he would never forget:

His 30th birthday when God called him to be a prophet (July 31, 593 BC)

The day that his wife died (January 15, 588 BC)

On the first day he was overwhelmed with anger at a destiny that he was unable to resist. The second, he was overwhelmed by a grief that he was unable to express (verses 15-18). 

This tragic and disturbing story of Ezekiel’s wife comes just after Ezekiel receives a cooking song or intense verbal imagery about the fate of a cooking pot. This verbal imagery, possibly acted out by Ezekiel, predicts the siege and destruction of Jerusalem. The corruption was so pervasive, that it was necessary for an all-consuming meltdown of final destruction. 

If you could summarize this sermon in one sentence, it would be: There is still time - but it is not unlimited. 

The Certainty of God’s Just Judgment 

Psalm 96:13 says, “...for he (The Lord) comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness, and the peoples in his faithfulness.”

David speaks of a judgment that is not just a possibility but rather a certainty - one day the Lord will return and He will judge all peoples. As followers of Jesus, this should cause us to ask a few questions. Do people know this? Am I ready for this reality that will come unexpectedly like a thief in the night? 

In our text, Ezekiel has been repeatedly warning people of the certain doom of Jerusalem. This is a turning point because Ezekiel now speaks for the final time before it happens. When God says something is going to happen, it will happen! 

The destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC acts as a picture of the day of judgement that is yet to come for the world - or as the bible calls it, “the day of the Lord” or “His coming”. On this day, God’s patience and long-suffering will ultimately be exhausted. 2 Peter 3 speaks to Christian believers regarding this reality (verses 4-13). 

There is still time - but it is not unlimited. 

Living in the Light of God’s Judgment 

Is this imagery of God in Ezekiel just an Old Testament perspective that is out of step with the New Testament revelation of God’s love? Not at all! 

2 Peter 3:11 asks, “Since all these things...what sort of people ought you to be…” In light of the judgment of God, how then should we live? According to Paul, the imminent coming of Christ, the Day of the Lord, or the passing away of the present age, should be the dominant reality of our thinking. As Paul told the Corinthians, this knowledge should affect our attitudes to all our relationships, our emotions, and our possessions. We should live with eternity’s values consciously in view (1 Corinthians 7:29-31). 

Peter answers his own question by saying that we should be holy and godly, at peace, not carried away with lawless people, careful not to lose stability, but rather grow in grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. Even the most precious things that we possess on earth we have merely as stewards. We do not own our children, our spouses, or even our own bodies - they belong to God. 

We must not consider it God’s job to ensure that we live comfortable and fulfilling lives. Rather, He is our Lord who has bought us with a price and owns us and everything we have. 

There is still time - but it is not unlimited. 

God and the Cross of His Son  

The death of Ezekiel’s young wife seems outrageously cruel. God took his wife as a direct action. We need to set this fact alongside what we know of God from Ezekiel 18:32. God takes no pleasure in the death of anyone. She was “the delight” of his eyes. He was endeared to her and had intense affection for her. Her death was a final call of repentance to God’s people. There is a finality to this portion of scripture and this period of God’s people. This is a warning that the delight of their eyes–the Temple in Jerusalem–will be destroyed and laid to ruin just as Ezekiel’s treasured wife lay dead.

Ezekiel’s pain was in some sense a sharing in the pain of God. For the God who took Ezekiel’s wife was the God who would give up His own beloved Son to death on the cross. And He did so because He so loved the world, including the exiles who crowded Ezekiel’s home wondering why he wasn’t mourning that day.

The cross reminds us that He took upon Himself all of our deserved judgement - but it also reminds us of the certainty of judgement on all who refuse Jesus’ offer of life. This gives us an urgency in our proclamation of the gospel. We are to share this good news with every person under heaven. There is one name given by which people may be saved, the name of Jesus Christ. Preach the good news to all that they may come to Christ and experience His forgiveness and mercy!

There is still time - but it is not unlimited. 


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?


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