Scripture reading – Ezekiel 5-8
Our study of the Book of Ezekiel continues today with our Scripture reading comprised of four chapters, Ezekiel 5-8. I have introduced Ezekiel to you as a devout man of priestly lineage. We have seen that God called Ezekiel to be a prophet to His people who were residing in Babylon and far from Jerusalem (Ezekiel 1).
Ezekiel’s task was to call His people to repent of their sins and turn to God, and encourage them that the LORD had promised to one day restore them to their land. Although the primary role of his ministry was to the remnant who were captives in Babylon, the LORD also revealed to Ezekiel the great trials of suffering and the impending fall Jerusalem would soon face as the capital city of Judah.
Ezekiel 5 – The Signs of Jerusalem’s Humiliation and Judgment
The siege of Jerusalem is portrayed in graphic detail in chapter 5. To illustrate God’s judgment against the city and what would soon befall its inhabitants, the LORD commanded Ezekiel to shave his head and beard (a sign of sorrow and humiliation), and divide his hair in three-parts (5:1).
The LORD then instructed Ezekiel to take each of the three parts of his hair and illustrate the imminent fall and suffering of Jerusalem’s inhabitants. One part of his hair he was to burn with fire, symbolizing the deaths of one-third of Jerusalem’s inhabitants by pestilence and famine (5:2a, 12a). A second third part of his hair he was to scatter, portraying that one-third would die by the sword when Jerusalem was destroyed (5:2b,12b). The third part, he was to bind in the skirt of his robe, as a testimony that one-third of the inhabitants would be spared as a remnant to the LORD (5:3, 12c).
Why did the LORD judge? Three reasons are given in our text: The first, the wickedness of Jerusalem had exceeded the heathen nations (5:6-12). The second, the people had turned from the LORD, broken His Covenant, and worshipped idols (5:9-10). Finally, they had defiled the Temple by worshipping idols within the holy sanctuary (5:11-12).
The destruction of Jerusalem served as testimony to His people that the God of Israel was God alone and there was no other (5:13). The ruins of the city were a testimony to the nations, and a reproach upon God’s people for their sins and wickedness (5:14-15).
All that befell Jerusalem was a reminder that God is just and His Word is True. What He had promised and covenanted with His people would be accomplished (5:16-17).
Hebrews 10:30-31 – “30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith