Suggested Reading: Ezekiel 4-6
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Key Verse: Ezekiel 4:9
Also take for yourself wheat, barley, beans, lentils, millet, and spelt; put them into one vessel, and make bread of them for yourself. During the number of days that you lie on your side, three hundred and ninety days, you shall eat it.
Baking bread is the third of four visual object lessons Ezekiel was to preform in order to increase the impact of his message. Getting people to pay attention is more than half the battle in successfully communicating. Ezekiel was making sure that people who would hear him or read his words would know that the coming total destruction of Jerusalem and of the Temple of God did not take God by surprise and that God’s purpose to bring His people to repentance would become a fact in history. Following the Babylonian captivity, the Jewish people would never again fall into such evil practises, which they had committed during the times of the Judges and the Kings. They learned very hard lessons! How would it be known that they had repented? Ezekiel 6:9 states that “They shall loath themselves for the evils which they have committed.” True repentance produces a loathing for sin!
Three times Nebuchadnezzar took captives to Babylon from Jerusalem. Daniel came to Babylon in the first wave, Ezekiel 8 years later. Jeremiah was still in Jerusalem during this time, and finally the prophecies of both Jeremiah and Ezekiel were fulfilled 11 years after Ezekiel was taken to Babylon. By the time of Jerusalem’s destruction, Daniel had already been in Babylon for 19 years and was well established as a leader in that empire. Jeremiah was taken by force to Egypt by some of the leaders of Judah who survived the Babylonian siege.
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Lord God, grant me daily the grace to repent! May I have a constant sense of true repentance, so that I will loath my sin and cry out strongly to You in my repentance and pray for repentance to take place in people’s hearts everywhere. Like Daniel and others in Babylon, I get Ezekiel’s message, and I pray that You will enable me to live a holy life before You and before people. I ask this in the Name of the only One who always lived a holy life, Jesus Christ (Messiah). Amen!!!
100 PERSONAL WORDS:
It was at least 25 years ago that we actually baked Ezekiel bread live on the 100 Huntley Street telecast. Rev. Val Dodd, who had at one time been the executive chef for the Holiday Inns in Toronto, had joined our staff team, and we took a page from Ezekiel’s book. Television is, of course, a visual medium of communications. We’ve never been as radical as Ezekiel (lying on one side and then the other for many days) in such graphic visuals to support his message. I think such a visual would have increased the number of people watching. In fact the entire country would have been aware of the show. I’m not recommending this to the current leaders in Crossroads Christian Communications Inc., but I do recommend powerful visual aids wherever possible. The more people watching means that the seed of God’s Word will fall into more good soil and will produce good fruit in more precious lives. One rather conservative pastor who pastored a church nearby said in reference to the Crossroads telecast and my somewhat radical approach to communications, “We should not try to be entertaining, we should just preach the Word!” True, but if we don’t get the attention of those who would not otherwise watch, how will they hear the “Word!” I would venture to say that Ezekiel was most entertaining. His ratings were really high, probably 100% of the people along the river Chebar watched him and got the message!
Yours for communicating in such a way that many more people “Get the Message!”
P.S. I’m writing today’s blog in Nashville, Tennessee. I’m here for the National Religious Broadcasters Convention. Under the leadership of Crossroads’ Global Chief Executive Officer, Dr. John Hull, our ministry is taking bold new steps to reach the world with the message of God’s Word. Our activities here are part of this initiative. Here’s a picture of a presentation made to me in recognition of Crossroads’ work by the Minister of Tourism of Israel. Also below is a beautiful scene from my Air Canada flight.