One of the popular breads found in North America and parts of Europe is the Ezekial 4:9 bread known for its whole and healthy ingredients. And yes, this name is straight out of the Bible reference from the book of Ezekial chapter 4 and verse 9. And most people who at some point have come across this bread would have read this famous first part of the verse that says “Take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt; put them in a storage jar and use them to make bread for yourself.” But I wonder how many people truly know the context of this Biblical text and why and for how long Ezekial was directed to eat this type of bread. Well here is a quick background…
5 years into the Exile period, God who is always at work, appears to Ezekial in a series of visions. The very first vision was a magnificent one of the glory of the Lord on his throne above 4 living creatures with wheels beneath them (ch 1). And Ezekial is literally floored by the glory of God because he writes, “When I saw it, I fell facedown” (1:28). You have to read that full chapter to get the full impact of the splendor and might of God’s glory.
The Lord Almighty then continues to speak and minister to Ezekial, calling him to be a prophet. And in the following chapters we will read that Ezekial not only speaks the words of the Lord that he literally eats as a scroll put in his mouth (3:1-3), he also acts out the message of the Lord in various ways.
For example, Ezekial builds a model of the city of Jerusalem and then erects a siege around it in order to proclaim the impending siege that will come upon the city due to the sin and rebellion of the people of God. Another message Ezekial was to act out was to lie on his side for 390 days to bear the sins of the people of Israel and Judah. Is was for this 390 day period that he was instructed to bake this special bread (with ingredient list in 4:9) and eat of it only.
And so it goes on. God continues to use Ezekial to speak His message of warning mingled with hope. The predictions are for even more destruction due to the sins of the people. These accusations are not only directed at Israel and also against the nations.
Reading through the first 33 chapters of Ezekial is not very encouraging because one can clearly see how the sins of the people have saddened the heart of God. And God has no choice but to spell out the consequences for their sins. (If you want a quick summary this short video gives one of the best summaries.)
However, I still find encouragement in the fact that God at least found Ezekial who was willing to pay attention to the words of God, moved by God’s Spirit, did not hesitate to speak the message from God. Just like the rest of the people of Israel, Ezekial too found himself among the exiles. But he looked and he saw the visions of God (1:1, 4). Unfortunately for him, the people reject him and his message (God predicts this in chapter 2). Yet he remains steadfast in walking in His calling as a prophet according to the Word of the Lord spoken over his life.
I wonder if there were also others to whom God reached out but who did not heed His message. God does call the people around Ezekial as a “rebellious people” (2:6, 7). So it is possible that God’s glorious visions were revealed to others as well but they may have rejected it and walked away. We may never know for sure. What we DO KNOW for sure is that Ezekial did not turn back from the calling of God on His life.
This brings the message back to each of us living our lives today.
In what ways have been shown the glory of God? How have we responded to what God has revealed to us thus far? Even when all seems lost and the situation is bleak around us, are we willing to hear out what God has to say? Because God never stops reaching out to His beloved. It is His beloved who have to look out for the signs of God moving. Which side of the equation would we find ourselves – the rebellious side that rejects God’s message or the receptive side that like Ezekial, is unafraid to walk in the calling God has.
And now I invite you to read as much of the life and message of God through Ezekial in the coming days using the below plan. And as you read, may the Lord fill your heart with His new vision and a fresh anointing for the calling He has for you this next season of your life.
Even in the bleakest of circumstances, God’s mighty visions and words are revealed to Ezekial who is faithful in proclaiming all that the Lord has shown him even if it means rejection and mockery.
Weekly Reading Plan
And now here is the weekly plan for you to read through the first part of Ezekial.
If you want to dig deeper here are some of my suggestions:
- Use the above schedule to read through all of the text
- Watch this short video on done by the Bible Project team
- Reflect upon your own life journey and your walk with God and try to remember the promises or instructions He has clearly given and assess you are doing with those.
- Optional (if you want to really read through the Bible in a year): Read Psalms 79-81
And that is it for week 28!
Happy Bible Learning!