Ezekiel Dramatizes Jerusalem’s Fall
Open Your Bible
Ezekiel 4:1-17, Ezekiel 5:1-17, Isaiah 26:8-9, 1 Peter 2:24
Don’t tell my seminary profs, but I usually speed through the first half of Ezekiel like a getaway car flying down the freeway. I try to slow down. But the graphic metaphors and startling imagery (human excrement, anyone?) become a blur as my eyes inevitably race past the uncomfortable readings about God’s discipline.
When I learned we’d be reading through Ezekiel during this season, I wanted my experience to be different this time around. I wondered what would happen if I slowed down and really sat with the readings. Became more present instead of just trying to get through it. Scripture’s end goal is not to make us uncomfortable, but to point us to God. So I wondered how Ezekiel’s hard-to-swallow passages could carry me toward God if I stopped pushing away from them.
Ezekiel’s audience of exiles were in denial, expecting to return to their own country soon. Jerusalem was Israel’s spiritual center, where the temple housed God’s presence. More than distance separated them from His presence. Through Ezekiel, God engages the people’s physical senses to awaken spiritual senses that had been dulled by years of sin. The dramatizations raise questions and induce shock and alarm; they’re meant to.
“Son of man, take a brick, set it in front of you, and draw the city of Jerusalem on it.”
Ezekiel’s symbolic actions call us to look at sin and its grave consequences from the vantage point of God Himself. It’s unsettling to read. With each message of judgment, holiness feels further away, and the line between humanity and the divine becomes even more pronounced. God even emphasizes this distinction, frequently addressing Ezekiel as “son of man” (Ezekiel 4:1,5:1).
Ezekiel’s dramatizations remind us that when we refuse to walk in God’s ways, He calls us back to Himself through discipline. We sit with the heaviness of Israel’s sins and confess our own. Seeing sin from God’s perspective highlights our deep need for His righteousness that comes only through Jesus.
This season is marked by lament, as we acknowledge the sin sickness that permeates humanity, including our own lives. But this season is also characterized by joy and hope as we look to the One whose suffering led to our healing. Because of Him, we can turn from sin and live for God. As God’s people, our hearts should desire to walk in His ways (Isaiah 26:8–9).
A slower, more intentional reading of Ezekiel is giving me a deeper appreciation for Jesus’s matchless sacrifice. I pray that as we keep reading this unique book, we will continue to lean in as God speaks to us from its pages.