EZEKIEL: I Will Exalt My Name
“What’s the word from the Lord today, Ezekiel?” The Judean exiles in Babylon oft gathered around Ezekiel in eager anticipation. But it was all an act. The people genuinely wanted to hear from Ezekiel, but they genuinely did nothing with his words.
Why not? Despite being ripped from their homes, these exiles had only been humbled enough to give Ezekiel their ears, not their hearts. They listened with hard hearts — continuing to work injustice, profane the Sabbath and sleep around with their neighbors. They had lost everything, but they still loved their familiar idols and false prophets that protected them. The temple was still standing — maybe they could carry on with their lives and loves. Surely, redemption was coming, right?
They didn’t get it. They didn’t know the Lord. They didn’t care about whether his name was honored or profaned by them. And so Ezekiel repeatedly asserts that God is going to work to cause everyone - Israel, Judah and the ends of the earth - to know that he is Yahweh. Yahweh will vindicate the holiness of his name. All will see and respect him.
In 586 BC, Jerusalem and the temple fell. The exiles who had “listened” to Ezekiel for years sat dumbfounded in the dust. What now, Ezekiel? Long story short — God would act again for the sake of his holy name. God would crush the enemies who had harmed them and any others like them. God would act to restore the land, the people, their hearts, their king and their temple. It would be better than ever before.
Paul: what happened to Israel was an example for us. Peter: what God prophesied by the mouths of his prophets he has done. Peter: pay careful attention to the words of the prophets until the day dawns (hope comes). We will aim to receive Ezekiel’s corrections and be encouraged by his hope as we both experience and anticipate it.