Reading for Today: Ezekiel 3:1–4:17

Reading for Today:

Ezekiel 3:1–4:17
Psalm 119:161-168
Proverbs 28:13
Hebrews 2:1-18

Ezekiel 3:8,9 I have made your face strong. What God commands (“do not be afraid”) He gives sufficiency to do (“I have made”), so God will enable the prophet to live up to his name (which means “strengthened by God”). 2:2; 3:14, 24; Is. 41:10; Jer. 1:8, 17.

Ezekiel 3:9 rebellious. It is sad to observe that the exile and affliction did not make the Jews more responsive to God; rather, they were hardened by their sufferings. God gave Ezekiel a “hardness” to surpass the people and sustain his ministry as prophet to the exiles.

Ezekiel 3:17 a watchman. This role was spiritually analogous to the role of watchmen on a city wall, vigilant to spot the approach of an enemy and warn the residents to muster a defense. The prophet gave timely warnings of approaching judgment. The work of a watchman is vividly set forth in 2 Samuel 18:24–27 and 2 Kings 9:17–20.

Hebrews 2:4 signs…wonders,…miracles…gifts. The supernatural powers demonstrated by Jesus and by His apostles were the Father’s divine confirmation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, His Son (John 10:38; Acts 2:22; Rom. 15:19; 1 Cor. 14:22; 2 Cor. 12:12). This authentication of the message was the purpose of such miraculous deeds. the Holy Spirit. The epistle’s first reference to the Holy Spirit refers in passing to His ministry of confirming the message of salvation by means of miraculous gifts. Mentioned elsewhere in the epistle are the Holy Spirit’s involvement in the revelation of Scripture (3:7; 10:15), in teaching (9:8), in pre-salvation operations (6:4, perhaps His convicting work; 10:29, common grace), and in ministry to Christ (9:14).

Hebrews 2:14 partaken…shared. The Greek word for “partaken” means fellowship, communion, or partnership. “Shared” means to take hold of something that is not related to one’s own kind. The Son of God was not by nature “flesh and blood,” but took upon Himself that nature for the sake of providing redemption for mankind. death…power of death. This is the ultimate purpose of the Incarnation: Jesus came to earth to die. By dying, He was able to conquer death in His resurrection (John 14:19). By conquering death, He rendered Satan powerless against all who are saved. Satan’s using the power of death is subject to God’s will (Job 2:6).

Hebrews 2:17 propitiation. The word means “to conciliate” or “satisfy.” Christ’s work of propitiation is related to His High Priestly ministry. By His partaking of a human nature, Christ demonstrated His mercy to mankind and His faithfulness to God by satisfying God’s requirement for sin and thus obtaining for His people full forgiveness.

DAY 6: How can we know whether Ezekiel’s language is descriptive of a literal event or symbolic of an idea or principle?
Ezekiel’s life offered his audience a sequence of experiences and actions that became teachable moments. Some of these were scenes in visions that held special significance. For example, the first three chapters of the book report extended visions in which the prophet saw a whirlwind, heavenly creatures, and an edible scroll. He also received his call to the prophetic ministry.

In addition, Ezekiel carried out certain unusual or highly symbolic actions that were intended to picture a message or convey a warning. In 4:1–3, the prophet was directed to carve on a clay tablet and then use an iron plate as a sign about the danger facing Jerusalem. Other acted-out sermons followed: symbolic sleeping postures (4:4–8), siege bread making and baking (4:9–17), and haircutting and burning (5:1–4). God instructed Ezekiel to respond even to the tragedies in his life in such a way that a message was communicated to the people. The prophet learned of his wife’s impending death but was told by God that his loss would provide an important lesson the people needed to hear. Just as Ezekiel was not allowed to mourn, the people would not be allowed to mourn when they finally faced the “death” of Jerusalem. “‘Thus Ezekiel is a sign to you; according to all that he has done you shall do; and when this comes, you shall know that I am the Lord GOD’” (Ezek. 24:24).

The unique nature of Ezekiel’s approach creates a striking contrast between the clarity of his message and the willful rejection of that message by the people. His ministry removed every excuse.

From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214,


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