Today’s Scripture Reading: Ezekiel 24:15 through Ezekiel 25:17; Jeremiah 34:1-22; Jeremiah 21:1-14; Ezekiel 29:1-16; Ezekiel 30:20 through Ezekiel 31:18
What is your dearest treasure?
Ezekiel’s dearest treasure was his wife. The King James Version calls her “the delight of his eyes.” When I think about Ezekiel’s life as a prophet it’s easy to understand how important his wife was to him. God had called him to bring difficult messages to the Jewish people while he was held captive in Babylon. I’m sure many times he felt as though he was completely alone; except for his wife.
This word from the Lord must have felt like a dagger through his heart:
Then this message came to me from the Lord: “Son of man, with one blow I will take away your dearest treasure. Yet you must not show any sorrow at her death. Do not weep; let there be no tears. Groan silently, but let there be no wailing at her grave. Do not uncover your head or take off your sandals. Do not perform the usual rituals of mourning or accept any food brought to you by consoling friends.” Ezekiel 24:15-17
My first thought after reading these verses was, “Lord, why would you go to such great length to send Israel a message.” I’m thinking like a human and seeing this earthly life and earthly love as the most important gifts we have and wondering why in the world would God waste all that to send a message to some rebellious people; but God’s ways are not like our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9) and this earthly life is just a second in the scope of eternity.
Having his young wife die long before her time must have been an overwhelming thought; asking Ezekiel not to show any sorrow at her death was completely unheard of. This is totally contrary to Old Testament funeral practices, which featured loud wailings and passionate expressions of grief. Demonstrative grief and sorrow was expected and seen as a sign of great love of love for the one who had died.
The death of Ezekiel’s wife was a sign designed to portray the loss of God’s blessing for Jerusalem (24:15–24). The “dearest treasure” (24:16) referred to Ezekiel’s wife. The same expression was used in 24:21 to refer to the Jerusalem temple. As Ezekiel was forbidden the customary mourning practices with regard to his wife’s death, the people were not to mourn God’s judgment on Jerusalem, for it was just (24:22–23). (Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary)
Ezekiel’s level of love and commitment to his God and the office of a prophet is the ultimate love story and God’s example of how the Jewish people were supposed to act when God’s judgment would fall on Jerusalem.
Would God ask so much of Ezekiel?
Then the Lord said to me, “Son of man, on the day I take away their stronghold—their joy and glory, their heart’s desire, their dearest treasure—I will also take away their sons and daughters. And on that day a survivor from Jerusalem will come to you in Babylon and tell you what has happened. And when he arrives, your voice will suddenly return so you can talk to him, and you will be a symbol for these people. Then they will know that I am the Lord.” Ezekiel 24:25-27 (Emphasis mine)
Friends, in our lives we’ve all had things happen to us that just don’t make sense. It’s hard for us to believe our Heavenly Father would allow us to walk through such pain and sorrow. In these hard times our continued commitment to the Lord may be the greatest testimony of the reality of Christ an unbeliever will ever see. Your testimony could make a difference between heaven and hell for that person. Your testimony could be the only thing that gets them through their pain and sorrow.
Your Heavenly Father could be saying to you, “________________, you are a symbol for these people. Then they will know that I am the Lord.”
Heavenly Father, help us to reflect our trust in You in the good times and the hard times of our lives. Help others to “know You more” through the testimony of our lives. In Jesus’ Name. Amen and Amen!
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©2011, Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Jeremiah 32:1 through 33:26; Ezekiel 26:1-14