Scripture reading – Ezekiel 3; Ezekiel 4


Click on this link to translate this Bible study into Hebrew, Arabic, Russian, Chinese, German, Spanish, French, or Portuguese.

Ezekiel 3


The LORD’s Command: Consume the Word of the LORD (Ezekiel 3:1-9)


The LORD commanded Ezekiel, “Eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel” (Ezekiel 3:1).  The prophet devoured the words of the roll and declared, “It was in my mouth as honey for sweetness” (Ezekiel 3:3).

With the words of the LORD in his mouth, Ezekiel was commanded, “Get thee unto the house of Israel, and speak with my words unto them” (Ezekiel 3:4). He was cautioned, he was not to go to the heathen, “a people of a strange [foreign] speech” (Ezekiel 3:5). He was to take the words of God’s judgment to “the house of Israel” (Ezekiel 3:5), but was forewarned, they “will not hearken unto thee; for they will not hearken unto me: for all the house of Israel are impudent and hardhearted” (Ezekiel 3:7).

Though charged with a difficult task, he was not to be afraid, for the LORD promised He would strengthen Ezekiel and enable him to stand against the people (3:8). The LORD then challenged His prophet to be strong and determined and “fear them not, neither be dismayed” (Ezekiel 3:9).


The Burden to Proclaim God’s Word to a Wicked People (Ezekiel 3:10-15)

Ezekiel was to “receive…and hear” the words the LORD spoke to him (Ezekiel 3:10). Then, he was to “get…to them of the captivity…and speak unto them, and tell them, Thus saith the Lord God” (Ezekiel 3:11a). He was to deliver the word from the LORD. Still, he was not responsible for whether the people received or rejected the message (Ezekiel 3:11).

The Spirit of the LORD then lifted Ezekiel and carried him (Ezekiel 3:12-14). Though he was troubled in spirit, he could not escape for “the hand of the Lord was strong upon [him]” (Ezekiel 3:14). Ezekiel then found himself among the people of the captivity, and for seven days he sat in their midst, silent and astonished (Ezekiel 3:15).

The Burden to Proclaim God’s Word to a Wicked People

The Call to be the Watchman of the LORD (Ezekiel 3:16-27)


After seven days passed (Ezekiel 3:16), the LORD came and commissioned Ezekiel to serve as “a watchman unto the house of Israel” (Ezekiel 3:17). His ministry was to call the wicked to repent. Still, their response was not the prophet’s burden. Nevertheless, should he fail, God warned, the blood of the wicked “will I require at thine hand” (Ezekiel 3:18). Should Ezekiel faithfully warn the wicked, he would deliver his soul from judgment (Ezekiel 3:19). Ezekiel was also to call the righteous to turn from sin; however, if he failed, the LORD warned, the blood of the righteous who died in their sin, would be on his hand (Ezekiel 3:20). In sum, warn the righteous, and should he repent, “he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul” (Ezekiel 3:21).

The LORD then sent Ezekiel into a valley and, along the way, gave him another vision of His heavenly glory (Ezekiel 3:21-24). He was then instructed to wait alone in a house and bind himself with cords to ensure his solitude (Ezekiel 3:24-25). He was to be silent and wait until the LORD opened his mouth (Ezekiel 3:26-27). Finally, he was reminded that whether or not the people would hear his words was not his burden. His duty was to speak the words the LORD put in his mouth (Ezekiel 3:27).

Ezekiel 4 – The Imminent Judgment Against Judah and Jerusalem

A Sign of Jerusalem’s Siege (Ezekiel 4:1-8)

From the narrative in Ezekiel 4, we understand Jerusalem was under siege but had not yet fallen to Nebuchadnezzar’s army. Ezekiel was living among the captives in Babylon, and the people were anxious for news from Jerusalem. Therefore, the LORD came to Ezekiel and dramatically and symbolically commanded the prophet to portray the siege of Judah’s capital city.

As a sign of the siege, Ezekiel was instructed to draw a map of Jerusalem on a clay tile and form a mound of soil representing the fortifications Babylon had raised against Jerusalem (Ezekiel 4:1-3). Taking an iron pan, he placed it between himself and the city walls he built. Leaving no doubt as to the certainty of God’s judgment, Ezekiel was commanded to lie on his left side facing his model of Jerusalem for 390 days (Ezekiel 4:4). Each day represented a year of God’s judgment against Israel (remembering the ten northern tribes were the first taken into captivity). The prophecy was that the LORD would judge Israel for 390 years for her sins (Ezekiel 4:5).

Ezekiel was then instructed to lie on his right side and face his model of Jerusalem for 40 days (each day representing a year of God’s judgment, Ezekiel 4:6-7). He was instructed to be bound, symbolizing the people of Jerusalem would be bound and led away into captivity (Ezekiel 4:8).

The Sufferings and Afflictions of Jerusalem

The Sufferings and Afflictions of Jerusalem (Ezekiel 4:9-17)

Ezekiel would not see the suffering of Jerusalem, but the LORD made him know the sorrow that would befall the people. Because the city’s siege would cut off the importation of food, Ezekiel was instructed to observe a meager diet that symbolized Jerusalem’s famine (Ezekiel 4:9-12).

The LORD then commanded Ezekiel to consume the unclean, defiled food of the Gentiles, which served as a symbol of the desperate hunger of the people (Ezekiel 4:13). Ezekiel protested, and said he had never eaten that which the law declared unclean (Ezekiel 4:14; Deuteronomy 12:15-18; Deuteronomy 14:3-21). Yet, he was instructed to use human waste as fuel for a fire to bake bread, which was forbidden by the law (Ezekiel 4:15; Deuteronomy 23:9-14). All this served as a symbol of the desperate suffering of Jerusalem’s inhabitants (Ezekiel 4:16-17).


Closing thoughts

The fear of man is a constant temptation for those who follow a path contrary to the world and its sin. The author of Proverbs 29 warned, “The fear of man bringeth a snare: But whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe” (Proverbs 29:25). In Hebrews 13:5-6, believers are reminded that the LORD has promised, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5). With the promise, the author of Hebrews asserted, “The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (Hebrews 13:6).

How many believers fear men’s rejection more than God’s judgment? How many allow threats and criticisms to deter us from speaking the TRUTH and declaring the Words of the LORD? Our churches and society need a generation of Ezekiels who fear only the LORD should they fail to proclaim His Word! I close with the words of Paul’s farewell address to the churches as an inspiration:

“I am pure from the blood of all men. 27 For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:26b-27).

Copyright © 2024 – Travis D. Smith 

* Please subscribe to the Heart of a Shepherd daily devotionals by entering your name and email address at the bottom of today’s devotion.

The Internal Revenue Service recognizes Heart of A Shepherd Inc as a 501c3 public charitable organization. Your donation is welcome and supports the worldwide ministry outreach of