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Ezekiel 4-5, Psalm 48

Ezekiel’s theological theater is not the first time one of the prophets act out God’s messages. We remember Jeremiah’s ox yoke, for example. But it is hard to remember a more extreme picture than that what is painted in Ezekiel 4. First Ezekiel draws on stone a picture God’s impending judgment on Judah. Though the disaster Ezekiel draws is graphic, what Ezekiel does next is just gross. It is not that the food God commands Ezekiel to eat that is gross, though it certainly isn’t appetizing. Rather, the thought of Ezekiel being told to lie on his side and portray the bearing of sins for Israel and JUdah during a 430 day period leaves one to question much about this situation? Did Ezekiel get bed sores? How did Ezekiel use the restroom? These questions are beside the point as the scarcity of details indicate. Ezekiel is so humbled by the vision of God’s glorious presence, everything God commands is completed. However, after hearing that God tells Ezekiel to cook bread over human excrement to emphasize the defiled food Israel will eat, Ezekiel begs God not to make him eat defiled food. God grants this request for Ezekiel as he is still beholden to God’s laws, simultaneous to desiring fidelity to God. As bad as Ezekiel’s drama will appear to his audience, it will be nothing compared to the destruction faced by those in Judah like Jeremiah’s contemporaries. God’s will, spoken or acted out, will come to pass. Even if we don’t always like what we read, we must take the scriptures message seriously, for their is no more serious message.

Jeremiah Vaught