Ezekiel is a master communicator of God’s prophetic word. He uses a variety of images and object lessons to reveal the state of Israel’s spiritual condition before Yahweh, the LORD.
For example, Ezekiel compares the wood of a regular tree with a vine in Ezekiel 15. The wood of a vine is useless for building anything compared to the sturdy wood of trees in a forest (verses 3-5). Backslidden Israel is likened to the wood of a vine. It is a simple illustration which conveys an important truth that the Jewish prophets proclaimed for several generations to God’s people. The LORD had entered into a covenant with Israel at Mt. Sinai to be His people so that they could be a light unto the pagan nations (Ezekiel 16:8, Exod. 19:4-6). They, however, prostituted themselves before pagan idols(Ezek. 16:15-52) and became defiled and unusable by their Holy LORD. In fact, they became more corrupt than the surrounding nations who had no special relationship with Yahweh. In short, they became useless like the wood of a vine.
In the first 24 chapters of Ezekiel, the LORD has Ezekiel utilize different object lessons like laying on his side for 390 days (Ezekiel 4:1-17) to communicate spiritual truths to Israel. God wants His people to realize the corruptness of their hearts toward Him and the consequent, imminent danger of judgment. There is a sense of urgency to Ezekiel’s message. The LORD, therefore, has him pull out all the stops to communicate in every way possible the true state of affairs. The inhabitants of Jerusalem are like the bones in a cooking pot that will be charred because they refuse to be cleansed by God’s chastisements (Ezekiel 24:1-14).
In the Book of Ezekiel we read this refrain repeatedly: “Then you will know that I am the LORD” (Ezek. 13:23b). The LORD’s first desire was that His people repent of their idolatry and renew their covenant faithfulness to Him. But He let them know that if they stubbornly refused, He would judge them to reveal that He was holy, both to Israel and to the surrounding pagan nations. The LORD knows that our greatest need is to come to know Him as He really is, so He was willing to do whatever was necessary to show forth His holiness through His people.
Under the Mosaic Covenant, holiness was not an option that was just reserved for the “serious” believer.Furthermore, under the New Covenant, holiness is not just reserved for the “committed” Christian. It has always been commanded by God to be necessary for all believers of every dispensation. “Be holy, because I am holy” (Lev. 11:44,45;19:2;20:7;1Peter 1:15b). Let us be faithful as we follow our Good Shepherd, the LORD Jesus in this world. In Christ’s love and service, Pastor John