Ezekiel 5:1-17;  6:1-14

Chapter 5

  The symbolic actions about the destruction of Jerusalem contines from Chapter 4.  Ezekiel is the only prophetic book that is completely autobiographical, written in first person from the vantage point of the prophet himself and it also contains a larger number of symbolic actions than any other prophetic book.

  A chapter 5 highlight of this is in verses 1-4, the shaving of the hair and beard.  Cutting of parts of the beard for Israelite men was prohibited and could represent great personal shame or be a sign of mourning.  Verses 5-10 interprets the symbolism.  The hairs burned in the fire represent those who will die of plague or disease during the siege; the hairs struck with the sword represent those who will die in battle and the aftermath of the siege; the hairs dispersed by the wind represent those who will be carried into exile.  It is striking that Ezekiel does not elaborate on the significance of the few hairs retained in the folds of his garment; they symbolize the survivors who will remain in Jerusalem (Jer 40:7-12).

Chapter 6  Judgement Against Idolatry

  Though Ezekiel addresses ‘hills and mountains’ as his metaphorical audience, the real audience was the exiles themselves.  He is speaking of the ‘high places’ the Canaanites worshiped and sadly, the Israelites worshiped the pagan gods of the Canaanites (and other false gods) on these shrines as well.  Ezekiel promises the shrines will be desecrated by the dead bodies of the Israelites.  ‘And you shall know that I am the Lord’ in verse 7 is the revelation that the Lord Himself is the ruler of history by announcing events beforehand.

  In verse 8 Ezekiel introduces the remnant that embodies the future hopes of the people, and they inherit the promise of God afresh.  The Exile was to be a period of purging and refining so that a pure people could emerge from it.

  Summation:  The Israelites pursued their own ‘culture’ and the culture of those around them instead of living in HIS culture.  The result was death and exile.

  The same applies today:  When we pursue our culture instead of living in  HIS culture – we build and live in our idol ‘houses’ and ‘kingdoms’  – not living FROM the house He built for us in His kingdom.  What we think is ‘freedom’ is really slavery, death and exile – not the true Freedom God has for us.  Jesus is Rock and as believers, all should be built on that rock.  Believers pursue Him and follow His ways.  This requires discipline but brings a purging and refining that allows Christians to know the hope only Jesus brings.   — Mary Mauderer

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