Tuesday, 04 October 2022

Celebrate Lit: Ezekiel's Song

When Serving God Doesn't Turn Out As Planned


By Naomi Craig

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Serving God is all fine and good when what He asks us to do is easy and we can see tangible fruit.

But what about when what God asks of you isn’t what you pictured?

Take Ezekiel, for example. When the book of Ezekiel opens, the Bible says he is a priest, he has been captive for five years, and my research indicates he is thirty years old.

Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the River Chebar, that the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God. On the fifth day of the month, which was in the fifth year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity, the word of the Lord came expressly to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans Ezekiel 1:1-3a (emphasis mine)

According to Levitical law, priests weren’t ordained until the age of thirty. The Levites on the other hand, could begin service in the temple at twenty, according to the order of King David.

Why would Ezekiel be referred to as priest, if he wasn’t ordained?

In Ezekiel 3:17, the Lord calls Ezekiel a watchman for the people. I believe that the Lord prepares us for the big things, by training us through every day life beforehand.

All this to say, I imagine Ezekiel was devoted back in Jerusalem, and served as a Levite with the trajectory of becoming a priest. He carries out his duties with zeal for the Lord’s ways, and his passion is discipling those who also follow the way. In my imagination he serves under the chief governor of the temple assigning the different shifts of Levites and Priests. He is determined to maintain the purity of the temple.

All of the sudden he finds himself exiled to Babylon and called into prophetic ministry. Like with most of the other prophets, God says the people may or may not heed.

Emphasis on the may not.

And then there’s Shiriel.

The greatest joy to Shiriel, is when she takes her father’s place in their family’s rotation in the service of the musicians. She plays the flute beautifully and sings even more exquisitely. Her voice helps usher people into a state of worship before the one true God. This is what she was made to do.

She is also able sit under Ezekiel’s teachings and develop a more rooted faith as a result.

Fast forward to the exile to Babylon.

She is now a prophet’s wife there to help carry out the rather bizarre prophesies and symbolisms God has asked of Ezekiel. Shiriel has to provide for their household, care for Ezekiel when he is an invalid—another symbol of God’s breaking heart for His people—help prepare the messages for their apathetic people.

Nothing like either of them planned.

And yet, God met them each where they were at. God gave them the grace to sustain them in their new calling.

Has God ever changed the calling on you?

It’s easy to get overwhelmed and discouraged when the emphasis shifts in a way that doesn’t seem favorable.

I’ve been there.

Sometimes the Lord meets you with a tangible reminder of His presence, like He did with Ezekiel with His hand upon you.

Sometimes you don’t see that relief until you have passed through that trial and you are looking back.

No matter the circumstance, the Spirit of the Lord will sustain you for the journey. Whether you can feel His presence or not, continue in His ways. For in His presence is fullness of joy. (Psalm 16:11)

*The scriptures indicate that Ezekiel had a wife, her name and backstory are purely my imagination.

*All scripture is taken from the New King James Version


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