In the summer of 2007, I had an accident which required surgery to reattach the hamstring tendons. Following surgery, I was confined in a brace, limited to lying flat on my back orleft side. One mysterious message came in a card:
“Then lie on your left side, and place the punishment of the house of Israel upon it. For the number of the days that you lie on it, you shall bear their punishment. 5 For I assign to you a number of days, 390 days, equal to the number of the years of their punishment. So long shall you bear the punishment of the house of Israel.” Ezekiel 4:4-5
I had a long road to recovery, but I was thankful that the days of lying on my left side were less than 390! Ezekiel is quite an interesting book, and Ray Stedman makes this comment as we begin our reading of Ezekiel this month:
There is no question but what Ezekiel is the most colorful and unpredictable of the prophets. One writer calls him “the wildest man in the Bible.” To this unusual young man is granted weird and wonderful visions of the majesty and mystery of God; nothing of a similar nature is found anywhere else in the Bible. He is shown the glory of the Lord in such cosmic proportions that language fails to describe it accurately, and he resorts to strange and even bizarre symbolism to depict what he sees. Further he is given strange assignments by the Lord to act out, in bizarre fashion, the messages he is asked to convey to the people.
Though his prophecy is written in Babylon, by means of visions and trances he returns frequently to Jerusalem and describes much of what is happening in the hidden areas of the Temple in that city. The message, therefore, is addressed not only to the exiles in Babylon, but includes also much direct exhortation to the Jews who remained in the land of Judah. Without a doubt he is one of the most gifted and effective communicators of unpleasant truth to be found among the prophets.