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Rev. Ronald C. Purkey, a Baptist minister, claims no originality for this Bible study outline.
However, every Bible study posted on this website has been taught by Rev. Purkey.
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July 23, 2017
SCRIPTURE: Ezekiel 3:1-11
KEY VERSES: 10 Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, all my words that I shall speak unto thee receive in thine heart, and hear with thine ears. 11 And go, get thee to them of the captivity, unto the children of thy people, and speak unto them, and tell them, Thus saith the Lord God; whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear. (Ezekiel 3:10-11)
· In 609 B.C. the Babylonians crushed combined Assyrian and Egyptian forces at Carchemish, on the Euphrates River.
Unchallenged, Babylonian armies under Nebuchadnezzar then swept southward, invading Syria-Palestine in 605 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar made Judah a vassal state (i.e., slave state), and took a number of young nobles to Babylon, including the future prophet, Daniel.
· Later, when Jehoiakim of Judah rebelled, Nebuchadnezzar returned with another army.
He sacked Jerusalem early in 597 B.C. and took Jehoiachin, the 18-year-old successor of Jehoiakim, to Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar made Jehoichin’s uncle Zedekiah Judah’s ruler, and at that time deported a larger group of Judah’s upper and middle class to Babylon. This group, which included a young priest named Ezekiel, was settled in the region of Tel Aviv, along a wide canal linking two branches of the Euphrates known as the “Kebar River.”
· The settlers were treated as colonists rather than slaves, and enjoyed many privileges.
But, encouraged by false prophets in Judah, they looked for the early downfall of Nebuchadnezzar and a quick return to their homeland. Back in Judah, Jeremiah continued to shout his strident warnings to submit to Babylon. And then, among the captives, a new prophetic voice joined in.
· In June/July of 593 B.C., Ezekiel was called by God and delivered his first message to the captives.
Between 593 B.C. and the final destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C., Ezekiel uttered a number of carefully dated prophetic messages predicting the judgment of Judah. After the fall of that city the prophet fell silent for a dozen years, and then resumed his ministry with a new and different message. God intended to restore Judah, and Ezekiel spoke glowingly of the glories of a future messianic kingdom.
· Ezekiel remains one of the most fascinating of prophetic books, in part because of the varied means used to communicate its message.
Visions, symbols, allegories, and parables all are found in the prophet’s vital ministry. Ezekiel casts himself as a watchman, responsible to warn his community of impending doom. His book reminds Christians that we too are watchmen, called to urge others to turn to the Lord while there is still time.
In Ezekiel chapter 3 we have the preparation of the prophet for a hard job, a difficult assignment. Jeremiah was a different type of individual from Ezekiel. Jeremiah was the prophet of the broken heart, tears often streaming from his eyes. At that crucial moment in history God needed Jeremiah to let His people know that it was breaking His heart to send them into captivity.
Now the people have gone into captivity, and they are bitter and rebellious. However, at this time the temple had not yet been burned or the city of Jerusalem destroyed. It would not be until seven years after this delegation of captives arrived in Babylon that that destruction would occur.
The false prophets were still telling the people that they were God’s people and they would go back home. They said to Ezekiel, “Who do you think you are to tell us these things? We are God’s people, and we are going back to our land. We will not be in captivity a long time.”
God told Ezekiel, “You tell them they are not going back. They are going to be in captivity for seventy years just as Jeremiah said. They are going to be in Babylon seventy years, and they are going to work hard there along the canals, working in the fields and building buildings. It is going to be a hard life for them.”
I. GOD’S COMMAND TO EAT A SCROLL. (Ezekiel 3:1-3)
A. The Son Of Man.
(Ezekiel 3:1) Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel.
1. “Son of man” -- again, this is the title the Lord gives Ezekiel in this hard job, in the suffering he would experience.
2. “Eat that thou findest; eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel.”
3. This is quite a diet -- Ezekiel is to “eat” the Word of God, i.e. know what the Word of God says and spiritually digest its contents.
INSIGHT: A well-known Bible teacher said this, “The Word of God should become part of us, my friend. No man ought to preach the Word of God whose heart is not in it and who doesn’t believe every word he says. Otherwise, he should get out of the ministry. The pulpit is no place for flowery speech and high-flown excess verbiage. The pulpit is the place to declare the Word of God.”
B. The Good Spiritual Diet.
(Ezekiel 3:2-3) So I opened my mouth, and he caused me to eat that roll. And he said unto me, Son of man, cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee. Then did I eat it; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness.
1. For a good diet STUDY the Word of God.
a. May I ask you, do you LOVE the person of Christ?
b. Maybe I ought to first ask, do you love the WORD OF GOD?
2. You will NEVER love Christ unless you LOVE the WORD OF GOD.
INSIGHT: A seminary professor asked this well-known Bible teacher one time, “What theory of inspiration do you hold?” the Bible teacher` said to him, “The theory I hold is no theory at all -- love the Book.” You have to love the Word of God before it will ever become meaningful to you. The Word of God reveals a Person to you and then you fall in love with Him. Ezekiel said, “It was in my mouth as honey for sweetness” -- Ezekiel loved the Word of God!
II. GOD’S COMMAND TO HERALD HIS MESSAGE. (Ezekiel 3:4-11)
A. Ezekiel Was Called To Preach To The House Of Israel.
(Ezekiel 3:4-5) And he said unto me, Son of man, go, get thee unto the house of Israel, and speak with my words unto them. For thou art not sent to a people of a strange speech and of an hard language, but to the house of Israel.
1. Ezekiel was not sent to speak to foreigners but to his own people.
2. He would not go as a missionary who has to learn a foreign tongue and a hard language -- God sent him “to the house of Israel.”
B. Ezekiel Was Called To Preach To Rebellious People.
(Ezekiel 3:6-7) Not to many people of a strange speech and of an hard language, whose words thou canst not understand. Surely, had I sent thee to them, they would have hearkened unto thee. But the house of Israel will not hearken unto thee; for they will not hearken unto me: for all the house of Israel are impudent and hardhearted.
1. “Ezekiel, I am sending you to a congregation that is disrespectful and in rebellion against Me.
2. They won’t hear Me, and they are not going to hear you, either.”
C. Ezekiel Was Called To Preach The Word Of God.
(Ezekiel 3:8-9) 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.
1. The Lord tells Ezekiel, “You are to go ahead and give them My Word, and I am going to make your HEAD hard.”
INSIGHT: Now God didn’t make Jeremiah’s head hard. Jeremiah had a soft heart, and he could not stand up against all the trouble he faced. At one time Jeremiah even went to the Lord and resigned. But God wouldn’t let Jeremiah resign!
2. God says to Ezekiel, “The children of Israel are hardheaded, and I am going to make your head harder than theirs.”
D. Ezekiel Was Called To Take A Stand Against Sin.
(Ezekiel 3:10-11) 10 Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, all my words that I shall speak unto thee receive in thine heart, and hear with thine ears. 11 And go, get thee to them of the captivity, unto the children of thy people, and speak unto them, and tell them, Thus saith the Lord God; whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear.
1. Two groups of exiles had already been brought to Babylon, one in 606 b.c., and another in 597 b.c.
2. Ezekiel was sent to them to show God’s justice in their being chastened.
3. The very fact of Ezekiel being sent to them indicates God’s love and compassion by pleading with them to repent and turn to God.
By Jennifer Benson Schuldt
Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel? – Ezekiel 18:31
When my son acquired a small robot, he had fun programming it to perform simple tasks. He could make it move forward, stop, and then retrace its steps. He could even get it to beep and replay recorded noises. The robot did exactly what my son told it to do. It never laughed spontaneously or veered off in an unplanned direction. It had no choice.
When God created humans, He didn’t make robots. God made us in His image, and this means we can think, reason, and make decisions. We’re able to choose between right and wrong. Even if we have made a habit of disobeying God, we can decide to redirect our lives.
When the ancient Israelites found themselves in trouble with God, He spoke to them through the prophet Ezekiel. Ezekiel said, “Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. . . . Get a new heart and a new spirit.” (See Ezekiel 18:30–31).
This kind of change can begin with just one choice, empowered by the Holy Spirit (See Romans 8:13). It might mean saying no at a critical moment. No more gossip. No more greed. No more jealousy. No more ___________. (You fill in the blank.) If you know Jesus, you’re not a slave to sin. You can choose to change, and with God’s help, this personal revolution can start today.
God, all things are possible with You. Through the
power of Jesus’s resurrection help me to take the first step
toward a life of greater devotion to You.
-- Adapted from Jennifer Benson Schuldt, Our Daily Bread, October 24, 2016
CONCLUSION: God’s Word endures after the memory of visions fades (see 2 Peter 1:16–21). Ezekiel had all the qualities that make for success in serving the Lord.
· Ezekiel was MADE a watchman and the Lord told him to stay home and be quiet until he received the message to speak. Ezekiel’s solitude and silence were signs to the people that the Lord was angry with them for rejecting His Word.
· Ezekiel SET his face to do God’s will (Ezekiel 3:4–11). Several times in the book the Lord tells him to “set his face” against something. Ezekiel depended on the hand of God to strengthen him (Ezekiel 3:12–14). He sat with the people and identified with their pain (Ezekiel 3:15), and he waited patiently for God’s Word to come to him (Ezekiel 3:16–23).
· Ezekiel KNEW that he had been called at a difficult time to do a difficult work with a difficult people, and yet he obeyed the Lord. Little did he know the price he would have to pay to be a watchman, BUT HE WAS FAITHFUL!
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: “For a new start, ask God for a new heart.”
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REFERENCES: References used in these Bible studies are the King James Bible (KJV), The Moody Bible Commentary, Dr. J. Vernon McGee © Thru the Bible Radio Network ( www.ttb.org ), the Scofield Study Bible, the Believer’s Bible Commentary, Dr. Charles J. Woodbridge Bible Outlines, Dr. Lee Roberson’s Sermons, Dr. Charles Stanley: ( http://www.intouch.org/ ), Don Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Women’s Study Bible, The Bible Reader’s Companion Ed. 3, The Nelson Study Bible: New King James Version, KJV Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the New Testament ed. 4, Dr. David Jeremiah: ( http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/ ), Dr. Cliff Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the Old Testament, Dr. Alan Carr’s The Sermon Notebook ( www.sermonnotebook.org ), With the Word Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s “Be” Series: Old & New Testaments, RBC Ministries ( http://rbc.org/ ), selected illustrations, and other references.
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