Trial of Ezekiel

God took away his wife from him suddenly, the wife he was so fond of that he calls the “delight of his eyes”. Yet God told him that he is not supposed to openly mourn for his wife.

(Ezek 24:16-18 NIV)  “Son of man, with one blow I am about to take away from you the delight of your eyes. Yet do not lament or weep or shed any tears. {17} Groan quietly; do not mourn for the dead. Keep your turban fastened and your sandals on your feet; do not cover the lower part of your face or eat the customary food of mourners.” {18} So I spoke to the people in the morning, and in the evening my wife died. The next morning I did as I had been commanded.

Why did God do such a thing? What Ezekiel went through is to be an example of what God requires of Israel. Their city will be destroyed and their loved ones killed but like Ezekiel they are not allowed to mourn because all the judgment had befallen them because of their sin. For the first 23 chapters of the book of Ezekiel God had pronounced judgement on the people because of their sin.

(Ezek 24:19-24 NIV)  Then the people asked me, “Won’t you tell us what these things have to do with us?” {20} So I said to them, “The word of the LORD came to me: {21} Say to the house of Israel, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am about to desecrate my sanctuary–the stronghold in which you take pride, the delight of your eyes, the object of your affection. The sons and daughters you left behind will fall by the sword. {22} And you will do as I have done. You will not cover the lower part of your face or eat the customary food of mourners. {23} You will keep your turbans on your heads and your sandals on your feet. You will not mourn or weep but will waste away because of your sins and groan among yourselves. {24} Ezekiel will be a sign to you; you will do just as he has done. When this happens, you will know that I am the Sovereign LORD.’

Ezekiel went through tremendous trials not because of his own sin. He did nothing wrong yet he lost his wife and was not allowed to mourn because God wanted him to tell the people that since he has done it, they are to do the same.

God allows certain things to happen to us for a purpose. He wants us to use those experiences for His purpose. We may be experiencing afflictions now because God wants us to be able to comfort those who are experiencing afflictions.

(2 Cor 1:3-4 NIV)  Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, {4} who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

The other thing we learn from Ezekiel’s life is that, following the command of God, he did not allow his private sorrow to affect his public duty.  Even after he lost his wife, he went about his public duties the very next morning. Do we allow our trials to affect our ministry? Are we so engrossed with our old problems that we stop seeking the things of God altogether?