Year 3 Day 113
Read - Ezekiel 12:3-20
Message - Alan Burke
Many of us this year aren’t travelling too far this year, not because of covid but because the price of petrol and diesel are shocking, the airports are a mess and even the army have been called in the South to sort it out, with delays at security and canceled flights because they can’t get the staff (off course they airlines didn’t overbook, it’s not their fault) and on top of that the pound is worth nothing against the euro. We may as all stay at home, put a tent up in the back garden pretend we are in the south of France between the wind, rain and hail of our Northern Irish summers. Honestly I’m thankful this is another year that I don’t have to leave our wee country I love it here, like why would you want to live somewhere where they don’t have Tayto Cheese and Onion crisps in every shop. Ok enough of that, think though if you had to leave your house right now and you could grab what you could, what would you take?
Well Ezekiel here is told by the Lord to pack his belongings for exile. When he had done this during the daytime while they watch bring them out, in the evening while they watch go out like those who go into exile. An exiles baggage would have been basic, you’d only have what you really need, the barest of bare essentials. During the day he’s is effectively to do what you’d do at night and at night what you’d do during the day, he was to set up camp during the day and at night he is to travel. We are told that Ezekiel did as he was commanded in v7, we’re not told anything more as such about it, we don’t know if the elders were there watching, or if there were crowds waiting for the next instalment of unhinged local nut job that had everyone talking, but as the word of the Lord came to Ezekiel once more it is clear that they had asked what he was doing.
To their question the Lord tells Ezekiel in v9 that he is to tell them that this is a sign for the prince and for the whole people of their captivity and exile. Ezekiel explains it to them so they could be in no doubt. The prince that is mentioned here is Zedekiah (2 Kgs 25:17-20), who during the siege of Jerusalem tried to flee at night the invading armies through breaches of the wall with some of his troops. Look how verse 15 starts and how verse 16 ends, “they will now that I am the Lord”. There had been a reason in all of this, God’s purposes in judgment on His people were redemptive, He was dealing with their sin, He was redeeming a people for Himself, those who would know that He indeed is the Lord. Ezekiel to do this is so that his people in exile among the Babylonians would know that it was He who brought this on His rebellious people. Those in exile with Ezekiel when this happened could be in no doubt that the Lord brought this because of their sin, it wasn’t that He was like the gods of the nations around them but figments of the imagination like all other gods today.
God wanted His people in exile as well as those in Jerusalem to know that he was the only living and true God, His people in exile they would know and indeed knew what happened before it happened, although they were far off when the judgement came they would hear, they would know that the Lord had brought this as He dealt with the sin of His people. But in the exile of those remaining, who survived the Lord was showing He is indeed gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, for those who were spared the judgement would know that, they would know that the Lord is God and when they returned they would purge the idolatry from the land. We may not know what God is doing in world events as they play out around us but the Lord is at work, He is a gracious and compassionate God and He will deal with sin, He will not let it go unchecked, one day all will stand before for the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed (Rom 2:5).
Q105 What do we pray for in the fifth petition?
In the fifth petition, (which is, And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors, (Matt. 6:12)) we pray, That God, for Christ’ s sake, would freely pardon all our sins; (Ps. 51:1–2,7,9, Dan. 9:17–19) which we are the rather encouraged to ask, because by his grace we are enabled from the heart to forgive others. (Luke 11:4, Matt. 18:35)