Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Ezekiel 2 & 3 - Ezekiel's Commission Word Studies

LINK: Ezekiel 2 & 3

BACKGROUND

You can learn so much about a chapter by looking for key repeated words and phrases. Go back over these chapters again and mark them. Then, refer to what I found in my observation:

Son of man (ben-ādām) occurs 10 times in these chapters and 93 times in the entire book. God addressed Ezekiel in this way in order to emphasize the humanity or finiteness of the prophet compared to the transcendence of God and stresses the distance that separates man from God.

Spirit occurs four times. In Old Testament times, the Holy Spirit only indwelt selected persons temporarily for God's service (Ex. 31:1-11; 1 Sam. 10:9-11; Psalm 51:11). The Spirit lifted Ezekiel up and caused him to stand. Even though Ezekiel was a finite human, the Spirit would help him!

Sovereign LORD (ăḏōnāy Yahweh) occurs three times here, but Ezekiel used this title of God an astounding 217 times! It only occurs 103 times elsewhere in the entire Old Testament. This name stresses God's sovereign authority and his covenant-keeping faithfulness. Ezekiel would be a channel for His message.

Rebellious occurs eight times (and another eight times elsewhere in Ezekiel). God used it to describe Ezekiel's audience: the exiles who thought their captivity was only temporary. They refused to admit their sin.

Stubborn and obstinate occurs five times in the two chapters. It refers to the people of Israel but also how God wants Ezekiel to be with them. 

Here is a fascinating thing I discovered:
The most interesting uses of mēṣaḥ are in the Ezekiel passages, plus one from Jeremiah. God says to Ezekiel (3:7) that all Israel is stiff of forehead (ḥizqē mēṣaḥ) and hardhearted (qĕšê lēb). The phrase “stiff/strong of forehead” suggests, perhaps, the picture of an animal, an ox or ram, butting its head. But in the next verse (3:8) God says that he has made the prophet’s forehead stronger than the foreheads of his foes. That is to say, God will not only give him hardness equal to that of his foes, but that he promises Ezekiel to make him harder for the truth than the people are against it. There may be here an intentional play on the prophet’s name which means “may God harden/strengthen” from the verb ḥāzaq. Cf. also 3:9. 
(Harris, R. L., Harris, R. L., Archer, G. L., & Waltke, B. K. (1999, c1980). Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (electronic ed.) (522). Chicago: Moody Press.)

The word "strong" to describe the hand of the LORD (3:14) is the same Hebrew word for stubborn used above.

Do not be afraid occurs four times. God had equipped Ezekiel, and he did not need to be afraid, only obedient. It is interesting to note that there is no record that Ezekiel hesitated in proclaiming God's message due to fear!

Eat/Ate occurs five times and pertains to God's direction to eat the scroll. Ezekiel was to be open and receptive to God's words of lament and mourning and woe that Ezekiel would deliver in Ezekiel 4-32. Ezekiel is recommissioned in Ezekiel 33 with words of hope and restoration. See also Psalm 19:10, Jeremiah 15:16, and Revelation 10:9-11 about eating God's words!

Listen(ed) occurs eight times. Ezekiel was to listen and obey even if God's people did not.

APPLICATION

What can you learn from this study of the key words in Ezekiel 2 and 3 that you can apply to your life?

PRAYER

Lord, thank You for not giving us a call without giving us the resources to carry it out. Thank You, Holy Spirit, for lifting us up and making us stand. Thank You God for Your Word that is sweeter than honey and a message for all peoples. Teach us to listen to Your voice and not to be afraid to carry the message You have through us regardless of the reception of those hearing. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.
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