Summary: The unique literary structure of Ezekiel’s vision points to the importance of ingesting God’s word in obedience to His call
God’s Call on your Life
Ezekiel 2:8 – 3:4
If you haven’t read from Ezekiel recently, these verses probably strike you as the strangest thing you have read in a while.
Here is the story of a man whom God told to eat a scroll – paper, ink, and all. And he says it was sweet as honey. I daresay that even if you are getting hungry about now and I offered you a few pages of the Bible to eat, you would not find them appetizing. You would probably gag.
What you may not have figured out is the fact that this experience is part of a dream or vision that came to Ezekiel. We all know that dreams can be strange. They may include people that look like someone you know but are not quite that person. They may happen in a place that seems perfectly natural, but when you start to describe it, it makes no sense. Am I the only one who has such dreams?
Most of us forget our dreams within minutes after we wake up. I read that five minutes after the end of a dream, half the content is forgotten. After ten minutes, 90% is lost. (http://www.dreammoods.com/dreaminformation/dreamfacts.htm) But some dreams are so vivid they stay with us a long time. And every so often one affects our lives in some significant way. I can remember one such dream.
I recall waking up from a dream in December 1981, while we were still living in Japan. We had lived there about 15 years and were just a couple of months away from returning to the States and we were facing a lot of uncertainties. We had to get rid of our stuff. We had to sell our house. We had no idea where we were going or what we would do. That morning, I woke up from a dream and, even though I couldn’t remember the action in the dream, I remembered five words very clearly. I knew they came from God. Those words were “We have confidence in God.” Those words served to comfort and stabilize my thoughts and anxieties over the next several weeks.
The dream that Ezekiel writes about was even more significant because through it he learned that God had a call on his life. He learned that he was being tapped on the shoulder for a special task.
Ezekiel was being chosen to take a message from God to his people. Ezekiel’s appointment is at the heart of these verses we are looking at today. And it is because he accepted this commission from God that we have the book of Ezekiel in our Bibles today.
These verses from Ezekiel come to our attention at an appropriate time. The school year has just begun and lots of people are on new schedules. The new church year begins today and many of you were in Sunday school classes this morning, some maybe for the first time. And some of you are thinking about making a new start in your lives as you wrestle with God’s call on your life. You know that you need to make changes. Maybe you have been living a lukewarm life of faith and you know you need to go deeper. Maybe the bottom has dropped out of your life and you realize you can’t handle the problems by yourself. You need to reach out to God. Wherever you are, these words from Ezekiel bring us hope. God is at work and He can come to you in ways you never dreamed possible.
Ezekiel knew without a shadow of a doubt that God had called him to a task. And I pray that God’s call on your life becomes just as clear, because God has a purpose for you and He is calling you to fulfill it.
Those of you familiar with Bible study know that we usually start with the first verse of a Bible passage and move toward the last verse, but today I want to begin kind of in the middle. Keep your Bibles open to Ezekiel and keep a pencil and the concentric circle diagram handy because I’m going to ask you to keep track of our progress.
1. In the center of your diagram, write the words “Eat this scroll.” (3:1) (3:8-33) These first three chapters revolve around these words. Why are these words important?
First, let’s think about the scroll. How many of you have seen a scroll like the ones the Jews read in their synagogues? Several weeks a number of you went to visit the synagogue in town. Were you shown a scroll? That’s what God told Ezekiel to eat in his dream. Maybe that is not an appetizing thought, but let’s think about it.
What does the scroll represent? It represents God’s word. It tells us who God is, how He created the world, and that He has his hand on the history of our world. It tells us how God wants us to live. When you have a question about the meaning of life, where do you turn? To God’s word. When you have a question about what’s right or wrong, where do you turn? To God’s word. If you are going to live God’s way, then God’s word must be at the center of your life. That was true for Ezekiel; it is true for you.