Ezekiel for Today (Hidden Gems Series)

July 18, 2022

My Bible reading plan recently took me through Ezekiel, and in case you didn’t already know, I’m here to tell you that book is tough! Ezekiel’s visions and instructions are among the strangest in all the prophets. Winged four-headed creatures whose spirits live in wheels that hold up the throne of God? Ezekiel lying on his side for more than a year and only eating food cooked over fires of dried dung? This book has it all. More than that, the oracles of judgment in Ezekiel are some of the most vivid and intense passages in all of Scripture.

Early on, I messaged a couple friends to complain, “Guys, I’m not getting anything out of my devotions!” I felt like I understood how Ezekiel’s prophecies were relevant to his people in his time, but I struggled to see what they had to do with me. Of course, almost as soon as I said that, the Holy Spirit in his grace proved me wrong. Only a few days later, while reading in horror about the idolatrous practices that had taken over the Lord’s temple (chapter 8), it struck me that I should feel the same horror when I allow idolatrous thoughts and behaviors to dwell inside the temple of my own heart. And he didn’t stop there. Here are a couple of things that particularly impacted me as I read the rest of Ezekiel:

Ezekiel teaches me to take my sin seriously because God does. There were multiple times while reading this book that I felt like I needed to cover my eyes because of how explicitly God describes violent judgment or Israel’s spiritual adultery. It was tempting to skim over these parts because of how uncomfortable they are, but sobering when I realized that this is how God views sin, and my sin is no different. I can already see that when my heart grows hard and begins to believe that sin is no big deal, Ezekiel is a good book to return to for spiritual adjustment. Praise God that I no longer stand under the wrath my sin deserves! Which leads me to my second point. 

Ezekiel is about Jesus. Surprise! Christ and his gospel are all over this book. He’s the manifestation of the glory of the Lord, which Ezekiel saw by the Chebar canal (chapters 1-3). He’s the promised Shepherd King (34:23-24) and the true Son of Man. He’s the true temple and out of his body flows living water (chapter 47—and see John 7:37-39). Even Ezekiel’s own sufferings, symbolically bearing the punishment of his people (4:4b), point forward to Christ’s righteous life and atoning work on the cross. Not to mention God’s promise to remove our heart of stone and give us a heart of flesh, putting his Spirit within us (chapter 36) or the stunning vision in chapter 37 where God raises up a whole valley of dry bones and brings them back to life, promising to raise his people from their graves. What a glorious picture of the gospel!

I’ve barely scratched the surface here of what Ezekiel has to offer us. In fact, I can almost guarantee that Ezekiel is longer than you think it is! There’s so much I still don’t understand about it, but it’s been incredible to dig past the difficulty and get a better grasp on how this book fits into redemptive history and what it has to say about the holy, glorious, loving God we’re reconciled to. Just like the rest of Scripture, it’s rich with truth and ready to come alive for anyone who reads it today.

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