Read Ezekiel (NLT)
Although Ezekiel's visions and prophecies were clear and vivid, very little is known about the prophet's personal life. He was among the thousands of young men deported from Judah to Babylon, when King Jehoiachin surrendered. Until those tragic days, Ezekiel was being trained for the priesthood. But during the exile in Babylon, God called Ezekiel to be his prophet during one of Israel's darkest times.
Ezekiel experienced the same kind of shocking encounter with God that Isaiah had reported 150 years earlier. Like Isaiah, Ezekiel was never the same after his personal encounter with God. Although God's messages through both these prophets had many points in common, the conditions under which they lived were very different. Isaiah warned of the coming storm. Ezekiel spoke in the midst of the storm of national defeat that devastated his people. He announced that even Jerusalem would not escape destruction. In addition, during this time Ezekiel had to endure the pain of his wife's death.
God's description of Ezekiel as a watchman on the walls of the city captures the personal nature of his ministry. A watchman's job was dangerous. If he failed at his post, he and the entire city might be destroyed. His own safety depended on the quality of his work. The importance of each person's accountability before God was a central part of Ezekiel's message. He taught the exiles that God expected personal obedience and worship from each of them.
As in Ezekiel's day, it is easy for us today to forget that God has a personal interest in each one of us. We may feel insignificant or our of control when we look at world events. But knowing that God is ultimately in control, that he cares, and that he is willing to be known by us can bring a new sense of purpose to our lives. How do you measure your worth? Are you valuable because of your achievements and potential or because God your Creator and designer declares you valuable?
Ezekiel's strengths and accomplishments: 1) Was a priest by training, a prophet by God's call 2) Received vivid visions and delivered powerful messages 3) Served as God's messenger during Israel's captivity in Babylon 4) Became a tough and courageous man so he could reach a hard and stubborn people (Ezekiel 3:8) (NLT)
Lessons from his life: 1) Even the repeated failures of his people will not prevent God's plan for the world from being fulfilled 2) Each person's responses to God determines his or her eternal destiny 3) God has people through whom he can work even in seemingly hopeless situations
Vital statistics: Where: Babylon Occupation: Prophet to the captives in Babylon Relatives: Father: Buzi, Wife: unknown Contemporaries: Jehoiachin, Jeremiah, Jehoiakim, Nebuchadnezzar
Key verses: "then he added, 'Son of man, let all my words sink deep into your own heart first. Listen to them carefully for yourself. Then go to your people in exile and say to them, "This is what the Sovereign LORD says!" Do this whether they listen to you or not' " (Ezekiel 3: 10,11) (NLT)
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois, 60189. All rights reserved.