BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY…. “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….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.” Ezekiel 24:15,16.18 ESV
I learned recently of the death of the wife my former high school baseball coach. We have stayed in touch over the last 45 years and I remember at times she would visit my church and was committed to her faith. Her husband was an outstanding athlete in his day and a successful coach and sports official. His persona was typical for his generation. Not too much indication of softness and affection. But they had been married 56 years and had known each other four years before being married. As I visited with him all he could do was cry about the loss of his partner who met more to him than anyone would know.
Ezekiel faced the most difficult challenge that any prophet of God could face. Others have endured ridicule, persecution and rejection. But part of the Lord using him to communicate God’s message to His people was to face the death of his wife without mourning.
The Children of Israel knew how to mourn! We see vivid descriptions of mourning the include loud cries, tearing of garments, throwing dirt on their heads. The typical time of mourning was 30 days. But none of that would be demonstrated by Ezekiel over the death of the “delight of his eyes.”
God’s people were the “delight of His eye.” We see David pray, “Keep me as the apple of your eye….” (Psalm 17:8) For them their demise was going to gradual and not sudden. It wasn’t the Lord’s first choice, but it was one that had to be made. It seems it would make more sense for the mourning to be more intense for Ezekiel than less. But God is God.
Following the Lord doesn’t mean hardships are avoided and there are answers to every question and insight into every event. This is one of those passage that I can finding myself reading through without stopping and saying, “What?!” “Why? Lord?” “Isn’t there a better way?” We have no explanation, we are only left to conjecture.
Hosea was called by God to marry a prostitute; father children, whose name’s would be metaphors for God’s people. He would see his wife abandon him and then be called to “reclaim” her.
Jeremiah in following the Lord, at one time like Job, wished he had never been born, let alone follow the Lord’s call to be a prophet. Daniel faced the lion’s den. We see the book of Hebrews describe the cost of faith for those who followed the Lord, “Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated…” (Hebrews 11:36,37 NIV)
That would seem to make recruiting difficult for sure. In it all we can find what the Lord allows some to experience is the not case for all. We see the Lord knows what He is doing and we have to trust Him, even when God and life don’t make sense.
Prayer for today…. Lord whether we read it in scripture or experience it in our life, keep us from reacting to that which doesn’t make sense to us, leading to faulty conclusions. Help us to trust You in all situations, not just those we can accept or match our desires.