- Eze. 24:1-27
On the very day that Jerusalem was besieged by Nebuchadnezzar, GOD spoke to Ezekiel and told him what was happening hundreds of miles away from Babylon. In one of the saddest and most difficult to explain events in all of Scripture, GOD tells Ezekiel that He is going to take the life of Ezekiel’s wife and use Ezekiel’s response as a sign to the Israelites that Jerusalem is fallen.
15 The word of the LORD came to me: 16 “Son of man, with one blow I am about to take away from you the delight of your eyes. Yet do not lament or weep or shed any tears. 17 Groan quietly; do not mourn for the dead. Keep your turban fastened and your sandals on your feet; do not cover your mustache and beard or eat the customary food of mourners.” 18 So I spoke to the people in the morning, and in the evening my wife died. The next morning I did as I had been commanded. 19 Then the people asked me, “Won’t you tell us what these things have to do with us? Why are you acting like this?”
20 So I said to them, “The word of the LORD came to me: 21 Say to the people of Israel, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am about to desecrate my sanctuary—the stronghold in which you take pride, the delight of your eyes, the object of your affection. The sons and daughters you left behind will fall by the sword. 22 And you will do as I have done. You will not cover your mustache and beard or eat the customary food of mourners. 23 You will keep your turbans on your heads and your sandals on your feet. You will not mourn or weep but will waste away because of your sins and groan among yourselves. 24 Ezekiel will be a sign to you; you will do just as he has done. When this happens, you will know that I am the Sovereign LORD.’
25 “And you, son of man, on the day I take away their stronghold, their joy and glory, the delight of their eyes, their heart’s desire, and their sons and daughters as well— 26 on that day a fugitive will come to tell you the news. 27 At that time your mouth will be opened; you will speak with him and will no longer be silent. So you will be a sign to them, and they will know that I am the LORD.”
(Eze. 24:15-27 NIV)
We aren’t given more details regarding this account of the death of Ezekiel’s wife. She might have been ill, but that seems inconsistent with GOD’s intent to use her death as a sign. Why would GOD do this to Ezekiel? It seems very difficult and harsh. Unfortunately I don’t have a great answer to this, except that the LORD gives and the LORD takes away (Job 1:21). GOD requires sacrifices of us throughout our lifetime. He requires larger sacrifices of some than He does others. It is not our place to question or blame GOD when He requires something of us. Instead we need to remain thankful for the blessings He has given us, regardless of our situation.
It is safe to say that GOD was using Ezekiel’s wife as an object lesson of His spiritual relationship with physical Israel. GOD often described Himself as a Husband to Israel, His bride. GOD’s judgment upon Jerusalem and Judah was as though He were losing His spiritual bride.
And lastly, we need to maintain a proper focus to see life as GOD sees it. For the child of GOD, our life upon earth is far shorter and of lesser quality than the next life. When we pass from this life our real life begins in eternity with GOD. Therefore, for the child of GOD, it is to our advantage that we pass from this life. That’s how the apostle Paul thought of it:
21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. 24 Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you.
(Phil. 1:21-24 NKJV)
Regardless of our emotional sadness at the thought of GOD taking a loved one away from His righteous servant, we must trust that GOD knows what is best and that we are His instruments to accomplish His purpose whatever that may be. What a blessing it is to serve a righteous GOD who loves me more than anyone else and who is all-wise and sees the end of things at the beginning. I will gladly commit myself to His trust and care. GOD help me to fully trust in You and not lean upon my own understanding!