This is one of those situations as we are reading from Isaiah and Ezekiel, it is becoming clear that it is really helpful to remember the CONTEXT of both Isaiah and Ezekiel
Isaiah is PRE-EXILE
We just had the chapters with the Assyrians like Sennacherib who are coming up against King Hezekiah
The Lord defeated the Assyrians and there is a period of peace
The Babylonians are going to come down and bring the people of Judah into exile in THREE WAVES (Do you remember the three waves? If you need a refresher, go back and read the notes for Era 8: Exile in the Bible in a Year Study Guide 😁)
First Wave: Daniel and his pals Shadrach, Mesach, Abednego, Hananiah, Azariah, Mishael (Fr. Mike spoke too fast for me to get the names so good luck. I had to google and guess the names he mentioned 😉)
Second Wave: Ezekiel
Third Wave: Everyone else except for the blind, crippled, and lame, and the people the Babylonians didn’t want
Ezekiel is POST-EXILE
Isaiah is speaking in JERUSALEM and he knows the kings
He’s even related to the Royal Family
Ezekiel is in EXILE and is speaking in BABYLON
It’s really important to keep this in mind as we continue
Isaiah 41:2, “Who stirred up from the east whom victory meets at every step? He gives up nations before him, so that he tramples kings under foot; he makes them like dust with his sword...”
Who is this person from the east?
One thought is this could be Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon?
It also could be King Cyrus of Persia who is going to free the people of Israel in Babylon
Cyrus was the Persian King who conquered the Babylonians
Cyrus sends the Israelites back home to Jerusalem if they wanted to go
Isaiah 41:25, “I stirred up from the north...he shall trample on rulers as on mortar, as the potter treads clay...” (Fr. Mike said Ch 42 but I’m pretty sure he meant Ch 41 because that’s what it says.)
Most people say this is a reference to King Cyrus
This is a PROPHECY OF THE FUTURE
Keep in mind we hear a bunch of FEAR NOT
This is called the Book of Consolation because once again, these things are going to COME
KEEP IN MIND…
THE EXILE HAS NOT YET HAPPENED
THE DESTRUCTION HAS NOT YET HAPPENED
THEY HAVE JUST BEEN SAVED FROM THE ASSYRIANS
IT IS GOING TO COME
Here is God who says in the face of this that DESTRUCTION and EXILE are GOING TO COME.
Isaiah 41:10, “Fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.”
I AM GOING TO BRING YOU BACK
Not only that, but in Isaiah Ch 42, he talks about the LORD’S SERVANT
THIS IS PHENOMENAL!
THIS IS INCREDIBLE!
IT BLOWS FR. MIKE’S MIND!
Isaiah 42:1, “Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him, he will bring forth justice to the nations.”
Now, there is this description of his CHARACTER:
Isaiah 42:2-4, “He will not cry or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; a bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. He will not fail or be discouraged till he has established justice in the earth…”
This is a PROPHECY OF THE MESSIAH, JESUS CHRIST!!
WHAT A GIFT!!
Go back and PRAY WITH THIS!!
We are seeing GOD describe GOD’S CHARACTER!
We are seeing THE WORD OF GOD in Isaiah Ch 42 describing the very CHARACTER, the very HEART OF GOD!
A BRUISED REED HE WILL NOT BREAK
A DIMLY BURNING WICK HE WILL NOT QUENCH
This is US!!
WE are the bruised reeds
WE are the dimly burning wick
When Jesus comes, He comes for RIGHTEOUSNESS
He comes for MERCY
He did not come to JUDGE or CONDEMN
Jesus comes to bring GOD’S MERCY to us IN TIME
Because Jesus wants us to ESCAPE JUDGMENT THROUGH HIS MERCY
Now in Ezekiel, this is important
In Isaiah 42:1, “I have put my spirit upon him”
That’s what happens when Jesus gets baptized in the Jordan River by St. John the Baptist
In Ezekiel, he is described as RECEIVING THE SPIRIT OF GOD THAT HAS COME UPON HIM
THIS IS REMARKABLE
THIS VERY RARELY HAPPENS
There are some people who will say that these three MAJOR PROPHETS kind of represent the THREE PERSONS OF THE TRINITY
Isaiah represents the SON because we talk about all the prophecies of the Messiah, the Son of God
Jeremiah represents God the Father
Ezekiel represents the Holy Spirit, because Ezekiel keeps saying, “The Spirit of the Lord came upon me.”
“The Spirit of the Lord picked me up and moved me.”
This is really INCREDIBLE
This is the continuation of Ezekiel’s VISION OF GOD
Ezekiel will have this same vision of the Lord FOUR TIMES
THIS IS REMARKABLE AND INCREDIBLE!!
This is because Ezekiel is going to be asked to be a very strange prophet
He is a different prophet when compared to all the other prophets
Hosea was called to marry Gomer who would be UNFAITHFUL to him, but he would have to be FAITHFUL to her
He was witnessing to God’s FAITHFULNESS with his very life
Ezekiel is also going to be the kind of prophet who has to give WITNESS to GOD with his very life
Ezekiel is also going to be the kind of prophet who has to give WITNESS to the UNFAITHFULNESS of the people with his very life
Part of the idea behind this is that since Ezekiel is going to be doing some crazy things, God is going to give him this INCREDIBLE VISION of HIS REALITY
And that is going to SUSTAIN EZEKIEL as he goes forth
How many times does God say in Ezekiel Chs 2 and 3
Ezekiel 2:6, “...son of man, be not afraid of them, nor be afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks…”
God says this AGAIN AND AGAIN
Ezekiel is going to be doing SOME VERY WEIRD THINGS
He is going to stick out LIKE A SORE THUMB
We will see some of the STRANGE THINGS that Ezekiel is commanded to do BY GOD in the sight of the people
Ezekiel 2:6-7, “...nor be dismayed by their looks...and you shall speak my words to them, whether they hear or refuse to hear…”
YOU HAVE TO SPEAK, God tells Ezekiel
We have a bunch of days to spend with Ezekiel
One of the things God makes VERY CLEAR is that YOU WILL SPEAK AND YOU CAN’T CONTROL WHETHER THEY HEAR OR REFUSE TO HEAR
Remember in Ezekiel 3:17-18, “...you shall give them warning from me. If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand.”
So you can’t control what the other person DOES
YOU CAN CONTROL WHAT YOU DO
THAT IS REALLY REMARKABLE
THAT IS SO IMPORTANT
SUCH A GREAT INCREDIBLE REMINDER
DO NOT BE AFRAID OF THEM
DO NOT BE DISMAYED BY THOSE WHO LOOK AT YOU ASKEW BECAUSE OF YOUR FAITH!
OR BECAUSE OF YOUR WITNESS!
OR BECAUSE OF YOUR PROPHETIC LIFE!
You HAVE to speak the WORDS that I GIVE YOU TO SPEAK!
Perhaps that is one of the reasons that Ezekiel is then BOUND AND SILENCED
He knows what it is to NOT BE ABLE TO SPEAK THE WORD OF GOD
He knows what it is to NOT BE ABLE TO BEAR WITNESS TO THE LORD WITH HIS LIFE
And so God gives him this LITTLE TASTE by being BOUND AND SILENCED so that he can know HERE IS WHAT IT IS TO BE FREE
TO BE ABLE TO FREELY SPEAK GOD’S WORD TO A PEOPLE THAT NEED TO HEAR GOD’S WORD
This is the PROPHET OF THE SPIRIT
HE ATE THAT SCROLL
IN HIS MOUTH IT WAS SWEET
THESE WERE THE WORDS OF GOD THAT HE MUST SPEAK
Later on in Revelation 10:8-9, “The voice which I had heard from heaven spoke to me again. It said, ‘Take the opened scroll from the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.’ I went to the angel and asked him to give me the small scroll. He said to me, ‘Take it and eat it. It will be bitter in your stomach, but it will be as sweet as honey in your mouth.’”
So we don’t have that sense that when Ezekiel eats the scroll that it become sour in his stomach
But we know that he eats the scroll and GOD’S WORD TASTES SWEET (mmmmm like Baklava!! 😋😋😋)
THAT’S SO GOOD FOR US!
This is Day 210 in Bible in a Year
The words of God are SWEET
Sometimes when we let God’s words PENETRATE OUR LIVES
When we let them CHANGE OUR LIVES
When we let them TRANSFORM OUR LIVES
And we know we have to SPEAK THESE WORDS
And we know we have to LIVE OUT THESE WORDS
IT CAN BECOME DIFFICULT!
WE ARE CALLED TO DO THIS!
WE ARE CALLED TO TAKE GOD’S WORD INTO US AND ALLOW IT TO TRANSFORM US!
That’s why we NEED GOD’S GRACE
WE NEED THE HOLY SPIRIT TO HELP US THIS DAY AND EVERY DAY AND EVERY MOMENT OF OUR LIVES!
PRAY FOR FR. MIKE
PRAY FOR EACH OTHER