Remember, Isaiah and Ezekiel are prophets IN DIFFERENT TIMES
THIS IS SO IMPORTANT FOR US!!
Because not only...(SQUIRREL!! 🤪)
OH MY GOSH THIS IS SO INCREDIBLE!!
At the end of….sorry I just have to say this, I just have to jump right into this
We are going to hear about it AGAIN TOMORROW
Isaiah Ch 44 Isaiah mentions this person named CYRUS
This is INCREDIBLE because Cyrus is going to be the King of Persia
But he is not going to be the King of Persia for a REALLY REALLY REALLY LONG TIME
(Fr. Mike says in the end of Isaiah Ch 45 but he clearly means Isaiah Ch 44 because that’s what the verse is 😉) In Isaiah 44:28, “...who says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd, and he shall fulfill all my purpose.’”
This is INCREDIBLE
The Book of the Prophet Isaiah is PRE-EXILE
This is BEFORE all the terrible things happen
It’s REALLY IMPORTANT FOR US to recognize this
What does God continue to do in this Book of Consolation in Isaiah?
FOR CRYING OUT LOUD in Isaiah 43:1-2, “‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned.’” (Oh and shoutout to Book of Daniel coming up 🤯🤯🤯)
Here is God who says, “I WILL BE WITH YOU!”
THIS IS PRE-EXILE
THIS IS BEFORE THE BABYLONIANS COME
THIS IS BEFORE THE BABYLONIANS LAY SIEGE AGAINST JERUSALEM
THIS IS BEFORE THE BABYLONIANS AND DO EVERYTHING EZEKIEL LIVED THROUGH!
BEFORE ALL THIS, IT IS GOD CLAIMING HIS PEOPLE!
God basically says, “Yes, all of these things are what you are going to have to go through. You are going to go through horrible things, because you have turned away from me. BUT FEAR NOT, FOR I HAVE REDEEMED YOU. I HAVE CALLED YOU BY NAME. YOU ARE MINE.”
That is like a DOUBLE CLAIM upon his people
It is NECESSARY
It is IMPORTANT
It is INCREDIBLE
It is also coming BEFORE THE EXILE!
It is a Word of God
God is saying, “You need to hear these words because when the Exile happens, you NEED to know that you are MINE.”
“That when the SIEGE happens, you NEED to know that you are MINE.”
“That even when the WORST THING YOU COULD POSSIBLY IMAGINE happens, you NEED to know that you are MINE.”
God is PROMISING this BEFORE THE WORST DAY OF THEIR LIVES!!
God is PROMISING this BEFORE THE WORST SEASON OF THEIR LIVES!!
God will be with them THROUGHOUT ALL OF THIS!!
THAT IS SO IMPORTANT FOR US TO HEAR!!
Maybe you have yet to experience the worst day of your life
Maybe you have yet to experience the worst season of your life
GOD KNOWS OUR LIVES
GOD KNOWS OUR STORIES
GOD EXISTS OUTSIDE OF TIME
God can say, “Even now, no matter what happens in the future, I have called you by name and you are MINE.”
We have this experience where in Ezekiel Chs 4 and 5 which is REMARKABLE
This is one of the reason why Ezekiel is the “Performance Art Prophet”
Ezekiel is basically ACTING OUT...God tells him, “Act out...basically kind of play with your army men...so basically…(Fr. Mike said basically five times there)...take a brick…”
Ok I’m just going to tell you to read the Bible verses here so we can avoid our brains hurting 😉
Ezekiel 4:1, “And you, O son of man, take a brick and lay it before you, and portray upon it a city, even Jerusalem….”
Ok that was too difficult….sorry
Have a little army and have them come against the city of Jerusalem
Lie on your side for 390 days facing one direction
Then flip over and face another direction for another 40 days
All the while, by the way, you’re eating once a day, and you are going to cook your food over POOP
WHAT IS HAPPENING????
Remember, Ezekiel was told by the Lord God, “I am giving you this vision and in the midst of this vision, this is so you have no fear against the people, and do not let their looks at you dismay you, uh because here’s what you’re doing…”
The fact that God says at first, “You are going to cook your food over human poop.”
Then Ezekiel says, “Please, I don’t want to eat anything unclean.”
God says, “Ok fine. Cow poop.”
(As a first time Bible reader, this is pretty fascinating, isn’t it? Who says God isn’t merciful? 🤪🤪)
So that’s one image, REENACTING THE SIEGE OF JERUSALEM with army men and a brick and whatnot
The next image is A SHARP SWORD
Ezekiel is told to cut off his hair and beard with a sword, which was NOT what people would use to cut hair
But the SWORD was a sign of DESTRUCTION, not a sign of PEACE
He divided his hair into THIRDS
The FIRST THIRD was burned up so it represented FIRE, or PESTILENCE, or FAMINE
The SECOND THIRD was struck with the sword to represent those who would die by the sword
The FINAL THIRD was scattered to the wind to represent those who were lost in exile, lost in history
These were SIGNS of what happened to the people in Jerusalem
One of the things Ezekiel is doing here is he is ENACTING IN VISUAL FORM what HAD HAPPENED and what WOULD HAPPEN to the People of God because they TURNED AWAY FROM THE LORD
It’s one of the reasons why Ezekiel is kind of the “weird prophet”
But we know that he is simply doing this ONLY BECAUSE GOD COMMANDED HIM TO DO IT
As we continue to follow Ezekiel, he will explain some of the reasons why he is doing this
In all of these things, the Lord God is WITH HIS PEOPLE
Even in the midst of Him allowing them to experience this GREAT TRAGEDY, this INCREDIBLE SUFFERING
GOD IS WITH HIS PEOPLE THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE THING!!
God is using this not to destroy his people
God is using this TO BRING HIS PEOPLE BACK TO HIS HEART!!
THAT IS ALWAYS THE MESSAGE OF THE PROPHETS!!
COME BACK TO THE LORD WITH ALL YOUR HEART!!
That is one of the KEY MESSAGES that the prophets ALWAYS return to
Yes, there is suffering
Yes, there is woe
Yes, there are days ahead where it will seem like the Lord God has abandoned you
BUT HE HAS NOT!!
You might need to hear this
It might seem TODAY like the Lord God has abandoned you
Maybe TODAY is the worst day of your life
God still says TODAY AND EVERY DAY, “I HAVE CALLED YOU BY NAME AND YOU ARE MINE.”
Knowing that, maybe someone in this Bible in a Year community is going through the WORST day of their life
SO PRAY FOR EACH OTHER
PRAY FOR FR. MIKE