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Ezekiel the Prophet

While Daniel was serving the Lord in the king’s court, God’s prophet Ezekiel lived out among His people. You remember Ezekiel had been brought to Babylon with the second group of captives. Ezekiel was a priest. Since there was no more temple, he served the Lord by urging everyone to be faithful. During the first years in Babylon, God spoke through Ezekiel in unusual visions to show Jerusalem would surely be captured and burned. There would be no more life in the promised land for most of them. Now they must trust God to take care of them in this strange country. False prophets in Babylon argued they would soon go home, but they were lying. The captivity would last seventy long years.

After Jerusalem fell, people began to see that Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the other prophets were telling the truth. So they began to settle down to a new life in Babylon, just as Jeremiah had written them to do.

Then the Lord began to give Ezekiel another kind of message - - a message about the nation going home. This did not mean everyone would be in Judah again. Very few would live to the end of the captivity. Much of Ezekiel’s message had another meaning for them - - a meaning about the Savior who would bring happiness for all people in all times, even for you and me.

God said the leaders of His people had caused a lot of their problems. The priests had been happy to see His blessings used in sin - - then they would get a part of the sacrifices offered for those sins.

They had even stood with the lying prophets against Jeremiah back in Jerusalem. God said they were like wicked shepherds who fed themselves on their sheep instead of taking care of them. With no shepherds to save them, His sheep had been scattered in many lands. But someday God would bring them together and put a special Servant over them - - a shepherd who would be like David, the man after God’s own heart.

How wonderful to think God watched over His people as if they were His own flock! How wonderful to think He would bring them all back together! And how wonderful to think the special Shepherd described is Jesus - - and that He is our Shepherd, too!

Another time God showed Ezekiel a vision of a valley full of bones to explain what would happen in the future. There were many bones in the valley and all of them were very dry. God said to Ezekiel, “Son of man, can these bones live?” How would you have answered that question? Ezekiel knew no man could bring them back to life, but he also knew God could do anything, “O Lord God, you know,” he confessed. Then God commanded Ezekiel to tell the bones, “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live.” He would put flesh on them and cover them with skin - - then they would know He was the Lord.

Imagine Ezekiel’s astonishment when there was a noise, a sudden rattling and the bones started coming together. He watched amazed as bone connected to bone in response to his words. Then flesh came on the bones and was covered with skin. But there was still no breath in them. So God told Ezekiel to command the breath saying, “Come from the four winds, O breath and breath on these slain, that they might live.”

Then breath came into the bones and they did live - - standing on their feet, a huge army of people. God told Ezekiel the bones were the whole house of Israel who were saying sadly, “Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!”

God was showing that someday everything would change. “I will put My spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own land. Then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken it and performed it!” He declared. Someone like David would be King over them and He would make a new covenant of peace with them forever.

The words of Ezekiel must have thrilled his people. Surely the Lord had not forgotten them!

Talking it Over:

1. God told Ezekiel we can be guilty only of our own sin - - no one else’s. Talk about Ezek 18:20.
2. God made Ezekiel a watchman over the house of Israel - - Ezekiel would be sinning if he did not warn them about their wicked ways. They would still die in their sins, but their blood would be on his hands. However, if Ezekiel was faithful to deliver His warnings and they did not repent, he would not be blamed. How are we watchman today?
3. After God’s nation was destroyed, he spoke especially to each person. How is that true for us today?

Memory Verse:
“Then shall they know I am the Lord their God, who sent them into captivity among the nations but also brought them back to their own land.” Ezek 39:28
What would this show about God?

Credits
Text by Betty Belue Haynes, originally published in Bible Talk Times. Used here with the kind permission of the author. Users are free to reproduce for use, but not for publication.