Ezekiel 4 and Psalm 40-41

Ezekiel 4 was an interesting read this morning. God commands Ezekiel to do several difficult things to demonstrate to the captives in Babylon that in fact, His judgment on Jerusalem is coming. D. A. Carson explains the setting:

In general terms the exiles in Babylon respond to Ezekiel the same way that the Jews in Jerusalem respond to Jeremiah: they don’t believe him. In fact, the exiles doubtless have added incentive to maintain their false hopes. As long as Jerusalem stands, they can nurture the hope that God will rescue them and bring them back home. If Jerusalem falls, there will be no “home” to which to return. One can imagine how desperately negative and even impossible Ezekiel’s warnings sound to them. But Ezekiel does not flinch. 1

The first task for Ezekiel (Ezekiel 4:4-8) is to lie on his side facing north for 390 days to symbolize the judgment against the northern tribes for 390 years, then for 40 days to symbolize the 40 years of judgment against Judah. After that (Ezekiel 4:9-17), he is commanded to make bread each day from beans, lentils, etc. cooked over cow dung (to symbolize the seige conditions in Jerusalem) and eat a meager amount and drink a small amount of water.

What amazes me is the faithful obedience of this prophet. These are not easy tasks and certainly not pleasant things that God instructs Ezekiel to do. I am sure he is also feeling the pain of exile and separation from home. Yet he is faithful to God and obedient to His commands.

Psalm 40:1 – There are several things to note in verse 1:

  1. The psalmist expresses that he had to be patient
  2. The psalmist acknowledges that his pray was a cry
  3. The Lord hears the prayer/cry and inclined to the psalmist

The result of deliverance by God should always result in a testimory of His deliverance Ps. 40:3. We praise Him because of what He has done for us and because of Who He is which is revealed to us.

Ps. 40:4 – we are often faced with the choice of trusting God or turning to something else when the pressure is turned higher. This verse tells us that the choice which results in blessing is trusting God.

Ps. 40:5 – repeats the result of God’s work in my life – a testimony of praise from my mouth and my life. Again this is repeated in Ps. 40:9.

One question that I am asking myself today is whether Ps. 40:8 is truly my heart, I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart… Does my love for God trump every other desire in my heart today so that in fact, I delight in doing whatever God asks of me? Especially in light of my reading of Ezekiel 4 where God tells the prophet to do some very difficult things (from a human perspective), can I delight in God’s will whether it is easy or hard? The answer lies in the answer to the question of whether God’s law is in my heart.

Ps. 40:11 is another great promise to cling to – God will not restrain His mercy from me and His enduring love and faithfulness will always preserve me! Ps. 40:17 recognizes that I am poor and I am needy but The Lord thinks about me – even with all that He is doing, He thinks of me! He is indeed my help and He is my deliverer!

Psalm 41 is a reminder to me that even though I am needy, I must remember those around me who are also needy. When the Holy Spirit impresses someone else’s needs on my heart, I should and must be responsive.

1 Carson, D. A. For the Love of God: a Daily Companion for Discovering the Riches of God’s Word. Vol. 2. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1998. Print.

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