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the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
Ezekiel 3

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-27

Chapter 3

Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, eat that which you find; eat this scroll, and then go and speak to the house of Israel ( Ezekiel 3:1 ).

In other words, devour it and then go give it forth. You see, that's really what the ministry is all about. You devour the Word of God and then you give it forth to the people, where it is now a part of you. You read and absorb the Word until it becomes a part of your very life, and then you give it out unto others.

So I opened my mouth, he caused me to eat that scroll. And he said unto me, Son of man, cause your belly to eat it, and fill your bowels with this scroll that I give to you. Then I did eat it; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness. And he said unto me, Son of man, go, and get thee unto the house of Israel, and speak with them my words. For thou art not sent to a people of a strange speech ( Ezekiel 3:2-5 )

Notice he sent to the house of Israel. You're not sent to a bunch of strangers, foreigners, people with the language that you have difficulty with. You can't understand.

but you're sent to the house of Israel; Not to many people of a strange speech and of a hard language, whose words you cannot understand. Surely, I had sent thee unto them, they would have hearkened ( Ezekiel 3:5-6 ).

If I'd send you to these heathen, they would have listened to you. But I'm sending you to the house of Israel.

But the house of Israel will not hearken unto thee; for they will not hearken unto me: for all of the house of Israel are impudent and hard-hearted. Behold, I have made thy face strong against their faces, and thy forehead strong against their foreheads. 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 ( Ezekiel 3:7-9 ).

They're going to give you some dirty looks, but don't be afraid. Speak My word.

Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, all of my words that I shall speak unto thee receive in your heart, and hear with thine ears ( Ezekiel 3:10 ).

So, receive in your heart, hear with your ears all of these words. Let them become a part of your life.

And go, get thee to them of the captivity, the children of thy people, and speak unto them, and tell them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; and whether they will hear or not. Then the spirit took me up ( Ezekiel 3:11-12 ),

Now, he's caught up by the Spirit.

I heard behind me a voice of a great rushing ( Ezekiel 3:12 ),

You remember like the rushing waters.

saying, Blessed be the glory of the LORD from his place. And I heard also the noise of the wings of these living creatures that touched one another, and the noise of the wheels over against them, and the noise of a great rushing. So the spirit lifted me up, and took me away, and I went in bitterness, in the heat of my spirit; but the hand of the LORD was strong upon me. ( Ezekiel 3:12-13 ).

So, he had this fascinating experience now. As people say they've been taken up in these flying saucers and all, it would appear that he had somewhat a similar experience of an astro projection with these cherubim.

Then I came to them of the captivity at Telabib, those that dwelt by the river of Chebar, and I sat where they sat, and I remained there astonished among them for seven days ( Ezekiel 3:15 ).

So he comes to the east of the captives, there at Telabib, and he's just astonished by what he sees. And he just sits there for seven days in silence, sort of overawed and astonished.

Now you remember when Job was having all of his difficulties and his friends came to comfort him, for seven days they didn't say a word. They just sat there in silence until Job opened up his mouth and began to complain about his condition. Sitting in silence. So here is Ezekiel doing much the same thing, just sitting in silence as he observes this whole scene of these people.

And it came to pass at the end of seven days, that the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word of the LORD at my mouth, and give them warning from me ( Ezekiel 3:16-17 ).

So God is now calling him, commissioning him. "Look, I've made you a watchman. That's your commission. Your duty is two-fold: number one, hear My word; two, give them My word." Hearing the voice of God, hearing the word of God and then giving forth the word of God. This is always the method of God. There are many people who do not listen to God. Their ear is out of tune, out of frequency. God always uses those who are in touch with Him to reach those who are out of touch with Him. God uses you, in touch with Him, to reach the world out of touch with Him. And that is the primary purpose why you are still here. God has a work for you to do. God is wanting to touch this needy world. God uses those who are in touch with Him to, through them, touch the needy world. "Hear My word, and then speak My word to them."

Now, when I say to the wicked, You will surely die; and if you do not warn him, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at your hand. Yet if you warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul ( Ezekiel 3:18-19 ).

Now, look, I've set you as a watchman, and you are responsible to hear My word and to speak My word. And if I say to the wicked, "You're going to die," if you warn them and they listen, great, they will live. If they don't listen, at least you've delivered your soul. If you don't warn them and they die, then you're responsible. The blood is on your hands.

What does it mean to have the blood on my hands? What does it mean to fail in my service to God? If God is saying to the wicked, "Hey, you better turn," and God uses or calls me to be the spokesman to warn those people that they better turn from their wickedness or God's judgment is coming, and if I fail to do it and God's judgment comes and they're destroyed, what does that mean that their blood is on my hands? It means that God holds me responsible, and that the reward that I would have for faithful service will not be given to me.

Now, notice he wasn't told to convince the wicked to turn. He wasn't told to argue with them. He was only told to declare to them the warning of God. That's all. We so often in our Christian experience make the mistake of thinking that we've got to somehow convert people to Jesus Christ. You can't convert them to Jesus Christ. God doesn't call you to convert people to Jesus Christ. He calls you to warn people. And therein is the calling of God. "I've called you, " He said, "to warn them." You've got to obey it. You've got to be responsible.

Now, again, When a righteous man does turn from his righteousness, and commits iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, and he shall die ( Ezekiel 3:20 ):

In other words, here's a guy turned from God, going down the wrong path, and God puts the stumblingblock that's going to trip him into hell.

and because thou has not given him a warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at your hand ( Ezekiel 3:20 ).

What does this have to do with eternal security? Really nothing. We're dealing in the Old Testament. And that righteousness which existed in the Old Testament was the righteousness of obedience to the law; whereas the righteousness that we have in the New Testament is the righteousness that is imputed to us by our faith in Jesus Christ. So you're dealing with a different righteousness.

Secondly, there is an association, because there are many who have made a profession, and there are many today who do profess to be Christians, but whose lives are being lived after the flesh. And I don't care what profession you might make. John surely warns us that there are people who are making false professions. "He that saith he is in the light, and walks in darkness lies. He doesn't know the truth. He that says he has no sin deceives himself. God's truth isn't in him. If a man say... " and men say a lot of things, but there's got to be a corresponding action in his life. If I say I'm walking in the light, and yet I am living after the flesh and walking in darkness, I'm only deceiving myself. The truth isn't in me. And there are a lot of people who have deceived themselves because they have made verbal professions of faith, but there is no fruit in their life to indicate any change. And they are still living and walking after the flesh. And yet, the Word of God plainly warns us concerning those works of the flesh.

As Paul said, "For the works of the flesh are manifest which are these: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strifes, seditions, heresy, envyings, murder, drunkenness, revelry, and such like of which I tell you. I've told you before, as I have also told you in times past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God" ( Galatians 5:19-21 ).

Now I don't care what profession you've made. If you're living and walking after the flesh, if you are living in the practice of sin, opposed to God, I don't care what righteous things you may have done. Your very life is denying Jesus Christ and faith in Jesus Christ, through which faith God imputes righteousness to us. But your very life denies Him, and you're going to perish in your sin.

And God is commissioning Ezekiel to warn the people of the truth of God. "That's what you got to do, Ezekiel, and once you do, you've delivered your soul." And I'm warning you, as the servant of God, according to the Word of God and my understanding of the Word of God, if you continually are living after the flesh, not walking after the Spirit, not being led by the Spirit, not seeking the things of the Spirit, it makes no difference what profession you may have made, your life is denying Christ. And many people have been lulled into a false sense of security by false prophets who encourage them to just live however you want. It doesn't really matter. "Just send your offering in and things will be okay." Don't believe them.

And the hand of the LORD was there upon me ( Ezekiel 3:22 );

And this is, again, the third time he uses this phrase.

and he said unto me, Arise, and go forth into the plain, and I will talk with thee there. So I arose, and I went forth into the plain ( Ezekiel 3:22-23 ):

Now this is from the river Chebar. He left and went to the plain. Now he had sort of a divine transport to the river Chebar, but he has to walk away.

Then I arose, and went forth into the plain: and, behold, the glory of the LORD stood there, as the glory which I saw by the river of Chebar: and I fell on my face ( Ezekiel 3:23 ).

God isn't limited to one locality. He's everywhere, and He's in the plain as well as by the river. And sometimes He will give directions and will allow you to do things one way, but then other times it's different ways. Our problem is that we try to pattern God. "Well, now, this is the way that God did it before," as though God has to continue in the same pattern. And we oftentimes make mistakes of thinking that God is patterned and God is bound to one method or one way. And we as men so easily fall into that rut of trying to do, "Well, this is the way, you know, they did it. This is the way our fathers did it." You know, and we get in these ruts. And that's one of the problems with the church. It's so filled with "rutuals" that it doesn't communicate to people anymore.

Then the spirit entered into me, and he set me upon my feet ( Ezekiel 3:24 ),

Notice, He's always setting him on his feet. It's interesting, he's always falling on his face every time he sees the glory of the Lord, falls on his face, and then the Spirit comes along and sets him up on his feet.

and he spake with me, and said unto me, Go, shut thyself within your house. But thou, Son of man, behold, they're going to put bands on thee, they're going to bind thee with them, and you shall not to go out among them ( Ezekiel 3:24-25 ):

Now, go, set yourself in the house. But they're going to come and bind you there.

And I will make your tongue cleave to the roof of your mouth, and you're going to be dumb, you're not going to be to them a reprover: for they are a rebellious house ( Ezekiel 3:26 ).

Now, I'm going to smite you with dumbness. You're not going to be able to talk to them. Now, he's just been commissioned to tell them, but for a period now he's not going to be able to speak.

But when I speak with thee, I will open thy mouth, and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; He that heareth, let him hear ( Ezekiel 3:27 );

Now remember over and over in the New Testament Jesus said, "He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear." Now, this was to impress upon Ezekiel the fact that he wasn't to just blurt out his own ideas to these people, but he was to wait until God spoke, and when God spoke then he was to speak. But not before. And to insure it, God was just going to smite him with dumbness so he couldn't. Sometimes I wish God would smite me with dumbness. I wish I could take back some of the things I have said.

and he that forbeareth, let him forbear ( Ezekiel 3:27 ):

If they don't listen, so what.

they're a rebellious house ( Ezekiel 3:27 ).

Don't bother with that. You just tell them what I tell you to tell them. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Ezekiel 3". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/ezekiel-3.html. 2014.
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