Adult 1 Sunday School Class Ezekiel 3:1-11 July 23, 2017
Theme: Discouragement and doubt can be hindrances to what we hope to achieve. What concrete action can help us get beyond our fears? Ezekiel’s call jnvolved eating a scroll that sweetened the bitter taste of his mission and receiving from God extra strength and protection for the challenges that lay ahead.
Please explain the meaning or significance of the following verses:
Understanding and Interpreting the Scriptures (answers are in bold print)
* Ezekiel 3:1, “Moveover he said unto me, Son of man,eat that thou findest; eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel.” Ezekiel prophesied between 592 to 570 B.C. just before and just after the “exile”. Chapter 2, God calls to Ezekiel go to His people, the Israelites and speaks the word which God gives to him. God describes hard headed and hard hearted people who are rebellious and disobedient to God. He is told that they are not listening, but be resolved to preach the words from the scroll which you will eat and are His words. “Eating the scroll” signifies a prophet who must first internalize God’s truth for himself, then preach it, just as it is given to him.” He would be tested by doubt and frustrations in doing God’s work to the rebellious Israelites. Today’s ministers must feast upon the Word of God through mediation and feed their hearts and minds so that they may be nourished and strengthened by it before they preach it.
* v.2 an 3., “ So I opened my mouth, and he caused me to eat that roll. 3. And he said unto me, Son of man, cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that i give thee. Then did i eat it; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness.” Ezekiel did as he was told and ate the scroll. What at first did not look appetizing, turned out to be sweet. He expected it to taste disagreeable to him because it contain parts in it that had difficult words and unpalatable commands; in short. Ezekiel was delivering God’s Judgement to the people of Israel. Even if things look difficult to us at first, God can make things beautiful to us in His time and more easily acceptable. Eating the scroll demonstrates Ezekiel’s acceptance of God’s commission.
* v.4, 5, 6, and 7. “And he said unto me, Son of man, go, get thee into he house of Israel, and speak with my words unto them. 5. For thou art not sent to a people of a strange speech and of an hard lanuage, but to the house of israel; 6. Not to many people of a strange speech and of an hard language, whose words thou canst not understand. Surely, had I sent thee to them, they would have harkened unto thee. 7. But the house of Israel will not harken unto me: for all the house of Israel are imprudent and hardhearted.” “not sent to people of a strange speech” means that God is sending Ezekiel to people who speak the same language that he does. If they do not respond positively, it is because like their ancestors, as well as themselves, rebelled against God also and may rebel against Ezekiel too. Because Ezekiel is speaking to his own people, it made it difficult to sway them from their outright defiance of God. God’s words would have been more effective if He had send Ezekiel to a foreign land. They would have understood God’s message, but the hardheaded Israelites were worse than their neighbors.
*v 8 and 9, “Behold, I have made thy face strong against their faces, and thy forehead strong against their foreheads. 9. As an adamant harder than flint have I made thy forehead: fear them not, neither be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house.” These people are hardheaded and rebellious toward Ezekiel as they were against God, and would not listen to him. God equipped Ezekiel to be as hard and as tough as the toughest Israelite he came to preach to. In todays world around the globe, Christianity is under attack. Those who are called will be equipped by God for their mission. They do not want to listen to God’s message, and would rather lean on their own understanding. We, as today’s Christians must be firm and resolute, with the strength of our convictions to know and love the word of God and claim it as our own, and share that knowledge with nonbelievers and apostates.
*v. 10 and 11., “Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, all my words that I shall speak unto thee receive in thine heart, and hear with thine ears. 11. And go, get thee to them of the captivity, unto the children of thy people, and speak unto them, and tell them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear.’ God wanted Ezekiel to receive His words in his heart and hear with his ears, and let it become apart of his soul. He is then to go out and speak to others with confidence and conviction. He was not judge on whether the people listened or changed their minds, but on what God had commissioned him to do. For us, we must know what God would have us to do. Have faith in what God tells us, and proceed with confidence and conviction.