The name Ezekiel means “strengthened by God,” and as we shall see, Ezekiel’s life was a testimony to God’s strength and provision. He grew up in Jerusalem and served as a priest at the temple. He was also part of the second group of captives taken to live in Babylon. There he became a prophet of God. His ministry period was between approximately 593 to 570 B.C. with his name appearing nowhere else in the Bible other than his own book.
Throughout his prophetic ministry, the Lord spoke through Ezekiel communicating His desire to be known by His people. Approximately 70 times Ezekiel records the Lord saying, “and they shall know that I am the Lord.” This is amongst the greatest truths for all people, from all cultures, and from all times to realise, the Lord God Almighty wants to be known! He has not hidden Himself from mankind. “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father…” (John 1:14), “no one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known” (John 1:18).
Ezekiel experienced things of God that few others had or could even imagine. By our way of thinking, the Lord took Ezekiel through some bizarre and extreme events in life. Through every extremity, the Lord was faithful and honoured His Word. Here are just a few of the many highlights:
- Ezekiel had the rarest of experiences. As he testified, “the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God” (Eze 1:1).
- The Lord sent Ezekiel “to the people of Israel, to nations of rebels, who have rebelled against me” (Eze 2:3),
“and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD.’ 5 And whether they hear or refuse to hear, for they are a rebellious house, they will know that a prophet has been among them” (Eze 2:4-5). Regardless of Israel’s hateful reception of Ezekiel, he was to speak God’s Word.
- The Lord informed Ezekiel that He was about to take the life of his wife, which God did. However, God also instructed Ezekiel, “you shall not mourn and you shall not weep, and your tears shall not come. Groan silently; make no mourning for the dead” (Eze 24:16-17).
- Ezekiel ministered under the highest accountability imaginable to the Lord. “If I say to the wicked, O wicked one, you shall surely die, and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from his way, that wicked person shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand” (Eze 33:8).
- The vision of the valley of dry bones is bursting with certainty of hope, promising the Lord shall breath new life into His people. The Lord God said “…when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people. 14 And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the LORD; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the LORD” (Eze 37:13-14).
Against all the odds, and despite a nation in opposition to him, Ezekiel faithfully delivered the Word of the Lord. His God given tenacious character inspired obedient loyalty to His Lord. His prophecies stretch over millennia, many already fulfilled, but the best is yet to come, when every future prophecy shall literally come into being. Ezekiel stands as a powerful motivating example for us today. The Lord of Lords is worthy of nothing less than our all, our everything, every day of our lives. May God make our lives a testimony to His sovereign grace.