Siege of Jerusalem Symbolized (Ezekiel 4:1 – 5:17)

Scripture Text:

(click to open in a new window or tab)

Ezekiel 4:1 – 5:17

1. What do you recall about 1968, the year of many civil rights and anti-Vietnam protests in the United States? Were you in school then, not even born yet, or part of that “don’t trust anyone over 30” group?

2. From what you’ve read or seen of that era, what did you think of those who staged pickets, boycotts, “sit-ins” or “sleep-ins” at your university, campus or state capitol? Did you mimic or condemn their long hair and “radical lifestyle”?

3. When have you “put your body on the line” to protest some social evil?

4. For each object lesson Ezekiel was to act out, answer the following . . .

  • what equipment or props did he need?
  • what did each prop or action or time span symbolize?
  • what were the lines scripted for him to speak?

5. What was the object lesson the audience was intended to learn? Do you think Israel got the point and repented? Or did they likely get angry and take out revenge on Ezekiel for “offending community standards of decency” by his outlandish street theater”?

6. Given his priestly training, what object lesson was too offensive even for brazen Ezekiel to do (verses 12 – 15)? What other object lessons would you have found tough to do? Which would you, as an Israelite, find too much to stomach? Why?

7. In one column, list all the things God says He will do in His wrath. In the other column, list all of Israel’s sins. How are the two lists related?

8. The particular judgments listed here represent God’s anger “fully spent” (chapter 5:13; see also chapter 6:12; chapter 7:8; chapter 13:15 and chapter 20:8, 21). Why would God want to spend all His anger on His chosen people? Doesn’t He have better places to spend it? How do you feel about this?

9. How would you react if your pastor did any of the things God required Ezekiel to do?

10. From your list of Israel’s sins, which ones bring to mind a modern equivalent? How does the moral condition of your country compare to that of ancient Israel? What do you think will be God’s certain, eventual response?

11. God says He will do some terrible things to Israel. In wrath, where will He remember mercy? In punishment, where do you see His love? How will renewal come out of such stinging rebukes?

.

Warning To Israel: Ezekiel’s Task As Watchman (Ezekiel 3:16 – 27)

Scripture Text:

(click to open in a new window or tab)

Ezekiel 3:16 – 27

1. Do you read the warning labels on products you buy? What warning labels do you read, but choose to ignore as silly or “that couldn’t happen to me”?

2. Recall a time when you were quite “tongue-tied” or speechless. What happened? How did you recover?

3. What is the main point of God’s warning to Ezekiel (verses 18 – 21, 24 – 26)? Of Ezekiel’s warning to Israel (verses 17, 27)? Why is Ezekiel held accountable for their response?

4. “Watchmen” were posted on farm and town walls to warn of thieves or attackers. What then does it mean for Ezekiel to be made a spiritual watchman?

5. How does the hand of the Lord feel to Ezekiel (verses 22 – 27)? What restraints does God impose on him? How does this show God is serious?

6. What message do you think God has for the people where you live? What is your role: to tell everyone, or only those who come to you? What would help them take you more seriously?

.

Ezekiel’s Call To Be A Prophet (Ezekiel 2:1 – 3:15)

Scripture Text:

(click to open in a new window or tab)

Ezekiel 2:1 – 3:15

1. What does your tax return say you do for a living? How does your professional resume amplify that “one word”?

2. What parts of your job do you tackle first? What parts are still left undone at the end of the week (month or year)?

3. If you could have any other job, what would you pick and why?

4. What is significant about Ezekiel’s  current posture (Ezekiel 1:28) and the position God wants him to assume (Ezekiel 2:1, 2)?

5. What do you think God intends by repeatedly (93 times) calling Ezekiel “son of man”? Addressed in his human weakness, where does Ezekiel get the strength to comply with God’s request (chapter 2:2; also chapter 3:8, 12, 14)?

6. To whom does God send Ezekiel to speak (chapter 2:3 – 8; chapter 3:5 – 9)? What are they like? Why might Ezekiel be afraid to take on this “mission impossible” (chapter 3:6, 7)?

7. How does God console him (chapter 2:6, 7; chapter 3:1 – 3, 8 – 12)? What seems to be required to get this job done?

  • thick skin?
  • strong stomach?
  • hard hat?
  • big ears?
  • soft heart?
  • foreign language?
  • flying machine?

8. What is on the scroll that Ezekiel has to eat (chapter 2:10)? How does it taste to him (chapter 3:3)? What he thought would be sour or “bitter” (chapter 3:14) actually wasn’t. What lesson do you think God is trying to teach him in shaking up his taste buds (a lesson also taught to the apostle John; see Revelation 10:9, 10)?

9. Ezekiel returns to his home in Tel Aviv (chapter 3:14, 15). How does he get there? How does he feel at first? And seven days later? How might sitting among his fellow exiles compare with his having stood before the Lord? What is the net impact on him?

10. As you review your life’s work, have you ever been aware of any special calling or “overwhelming” task from the Lord?

11. What about God stands out to you in the call of Ezekiel?

Additional Note (Spring/Summer Preview):

Ezekiel was preaching at the same time as Jeremiah, and their messages are similar in many ways. Since neither one mentions the other, we can’t be sure whether they were acquainted. And we don’t know if either of them were acquainted with Daniel. Throughout the spring and summer, we will continue to examine the lives and ministries of these three men.

.