Taken! Was he snatched from his bed in the middle of the night or dragged from the court yard of the Temple as he sat listening to the words of the Prophet Jeremiah? Perhaps it was more like the dreaded letter of inscription our young men get as they are forced from the safety of their homes and into service for their country. Whatever the situation, Ezekiel was one of many young Jewish men and women taken captive by the Babylonians just prior to the fall of Jerusalem around 600 B.C. The situation in Babylon was not what one might think. These “captives” lived in their own homes, went to school, married, had families, and prospered as long as they served the kingdom well.
As a result, most of the exiles conformed to the ways of their captors. They worshipped the Babylonian idols and ignored the laws of God. Many were comfortable living a wicked and evil lifestyle. From a heart filled with grief for his people, God called out to Ezekiel.
It was just ordinary day down by the Kebar River. Ezekiel may have been out for a stroll, sitting under a tree, or skipping a few stones, when life suddenly took a drastic turn! He saw the heavens open and a mighty windstorm came from the north. The clouds flashed with lightning and glowed as if on fire. Ezekiel fell on his face as the appearance of the glory of the Lord descended. At the ripe old age of 30 (coincidence…I think not!) Ezekiel answered the call to become a prophet of God.
“I am sending you to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me. The people to whom I am sending you are obstinate and stubborn,” God spoke to Ezekiel. “Do not be afraid even though briars and thorns are all around you,” continued the Lord.
Ezekiel was thrown headlong into the briar patch! What do we know about thorns and briars? We know they are a result of sin and the curse on mankind. We know they are hurtful to the soil and choke the life from young plants. Ezekiel was commanded to speak God’s words but was told the people probably would not listen. The seeds of truth would be choked out by their wickedness.
Do you ever feel that way? Do you look around and see folks living in rebellion toward God and feel as if no one is listening to truth? My friends, you are not alone. There is a great remnant of believers fighting alongside you. Keep up the fight and be encouraged. This is not the end of the story.