Ezekiel: A Message of Judgment and Hope
Oct 21, 2022 · Courtney Jacob
Is it okay to have mixed feelings about God’s calling on my life?
What if I do what he says, but nobody listens?
Following God’s call is not always easy. It can sometimes be scary, shocking, or even difficult. The prophet Ezekiel experienced this reality first-hand. When God called Ezekiel to be his prophet to Israel, God made it clear that the Israelites were rebellious and wouldn’t listen. Through visions and dramatic illustrations, Ezekiel received God’s messages of judgment and hope for Israel and he obediently delivered the messages to God’s people. Join Groundwork for our series, “Ezekiel: A Message of Judgment and Hope.” Through our study of Ezekiel’s call to ministry, his prophetic visions, and the messages he delivers to God’s people we’ll glean wisdom for our own lives and callings today.
Who was Ezekiel?
Before God called Ezekiel into prophetic service, the Old Testament prophet Ezekiel was already a trained priest in Jerusalem. He was born in the ancient Near East and biblical scholars confidently place his birth around 627 BC, due to his reference in Ezekiel 1:1-2 to his own “thirtieth year” and the “fifth year of the exile of King Jehoiachin.” At the time of Ezekiel’s call to ministry, Israel was already divided into two kingdoms, referred to as the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah. Ezekiel was in the southern kingdom where Jerusalem is located.
The biblical book of Ezekiel is a prophetic book, written in a narrative style. In its pages, Ezekiel records his call to ministry, his prophetic visions, and the messages he delivers to God’s people. Yet scholars note that there are strong elements in Ezekiel of the apocalyptic genre, which focuses on revelations about the end time, and they note that the book of Revelation quotes passages from Ezekiel. However, Ezekiel itself is not wholly considered one of the apocalyptic books of the Bible.
God & Israel in Ezekiel
The book of Ezekiel, particularly his visions, can sometimes seem bizarre and hard to understand, but if we take the time to study it, we discover valuable insights that help us better understand God and his relationship with his people. In the book of Ezekiel, we see how heartbroken and grieved God is when his people disobey him. God called Ezekiel to ministry after years and years of Israel's rebellion and through Ezekiel, God pronounces judgment after judgment on God’s rebellious people.
But lest God seem severe and vengeful, we discover that even as God has Ezekiel prophesy about judgment and warn of the consequences of Israel’s sin, God always also offers hope and a promise of salvation to his people.
Learn from Ezekiel
Studying the book of Ezekiel benefits our faith and provides so many insights for us as God’s people today. It encourages us to examine our own hearts and ask, are we receptive to God’s truth or rebellious like Israel? It provides us the opportunity to learn about the consequences of sin and rebellion and learn why our holy God must respond with judgment. It offers wisdom about what God expects from his people. It shows God’s great efforts to get the attention of his people and his continued faithfulness to them. Finally, it provides us insight into what it means to be called by God into ministry. So I invite you to experience and learn from Ezekiel’s ministry through our Groundwork series, “Ezekiel: A Message of Judgment and Hope”:
- Called to be God's Prophet - Ezekiel 1-3
- Dramatic Messages from God - Ezekiel 4-7, 12
- God's Presence with His People- Ezekiel 10-11, 36
- Understanding God's Judgment - Ezekiel 14, 22
- Dry Bones and God's Promises of Restoration - Ezekiel 37, 47
...and together we’ll hear Ezekiel’s messages of judgment and hope and glean the lessons and truths they hold for us still today.