“The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, behold, I am about to take the delight of your eyes away from you at a stroke; yet you shall not mourn or weep nor shall your tears run down. Sigh, but not aloud; make no mourning for the dead. Bind on your turban, and put your shoes on your feet; do not cover your lips, nor eat the bread of men. So I spoke to the people in the morning, and at evening my wife died. And on the next morning I did as I was commanded.”
We could spend a whole lot of time unpacking the verses I just read just to make sure it’s clear what I just read. God just told Ezekiel that the delight of his eyes, his wife, was about to die and he was not to mourn in all the traditional, expected, natural, even desirous ways to mourn, natural ways to mourn. Instead, he was to illustrate in this how, and this is what the verses talk about after this, how God’s people were experiencing His judgment, how the temple in Jerusalem was about to be destroyed, the delight of their eyes and they were to see this solemnly as the judgment of God, not to mourn over that which they delighted in, but to accept it as discipline from God and turn from their sin, and look to Him and know that He alone is God.
So there’s so much here, and don’t press all the details of Ezekiel’s wife dying, and judgment in the people of Israel, and the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. They’re not intended to be exact parallels at every single point, but the big picture point is, well, one, it’s not easy to be a prophet. It’s not easy to do whatever God calls you to do. All throughout scripture, we see God calling His people to do hard things, to endure hard things, and to trust Him and proclaim His word in the middle of it. And that’s what’s so fascinating about verse 18, “On the next this morning I did as I was commanded,” like it’s this short, almost terse, verse, but it’s crystal clear Ezekiel did whatever God commanded Him to do. Like in a “not my will but yours be done” kind of way.
So let’s pray. God, we don’t presume to understand everything that you’re doing here in Ezekiel 24, and for that matter, we don’t presume to understand everything that you’re doing in our lives. But we praise you for the good gifts that you give us in our lives, God. I praise you for my wife and I praise you for her. She’s a delight to my eyes. I praise you for so many different good gifts in my life, my children, Lord, your church. Lord, I could go on and we could spend hours me just listing out all the good gifts you’ve given to me as others are praying all the good gifts you’ve given to them, all the delights to their eyes. So we say with everything you’ve given to us by your grace, it’s all yours, all the good gifts down to our very lives and our breath, it’s all yours. We pray together today, not our will, but yours to be done.
Use our lives, our marriages, our families, our money, our possessions, our future, our jobs, use everything we have however you desire for your glory, for the spread of your word, for the accomplishment of your purposes. We trust in you and we praise you. We praise you. This was not the end for Ezekiel’s wife, trusting that she and her husband were both trusting in you, looking to you. This was not the end of the story for them. We praise you that death is not the end of the story for all who trust in you. We praise you. This world is temporary; that all who trust in you have eternal life in you, and so in light of that we gladly say with everything in our lives down to our very breath, it’s yours. Spend us however you desire for your glory and help us.
Help us, we pray, when you call us to do and endure hard things. I pray for those who are walking through hard things right now. God, I pray for an extra measure of grace, strength, joy, help for them; that you might be glorified in … that you might be glorified by giving them all they need to walk through these days in ways that point others to you and to your goodness, and to your love, and your purposes. We trust in you, oh God, with all that we are and all that we have. In the trustworthy name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.