Mon 25 Jun 2012
The book of Ezekiel contains many passages of scripture that are beloved to Christians today. These include the vision of the valley of dry bones (Ezek 37) and the river of life and healing flowing from the temple. (Ezek 47)
An unexpected source of inspiration, however, can be drawn from the life of the prophet himself.
4 Valuable Lessons from the life of Ezekiel:
1. The Horizons of our Lives may Change
Sometimes in life, the long-term view we have of our lives—the future we believe God has laid out for us—changes unexpectedly:
- A ministry opportunity does not eventuate or is cut short
- Someone dear is removed from us or becomes dependent upon us
- A relationship, in family, friendship or ministry breaks down
- An unexpected pregnancy, or change in health
- A relocation that is unforeseen
- A protracted season of waiting.
As a Levite and member of a priestly family, the young Ezekiel was brought up with the expectation that he would one day serve in God’s Temple. His whole life pointed to the purpose of ministering before God. (Ezek 1:3)
However, when he was a young man of around 23 years old, he was taken captive from Judah, along with King Jehoachin and many others. (Ezek 33:21)
The horizon of Ezekiel’s life suddenly changed. Relocated in Babylon, he seemed destined to lead the ordinary life of an exile. And during the next few years, he married and settled in his own home near the river Chebar.
However, God was not finished with Ezekiel.
On an extraordinary day in Ezekiel’s 30th year—the very age he would have been when he began service in the temple at Jerusalem—the heavens opened. Ezekiel received visions from God and his prophetic ministry began. 
When the horizons of your life change, the future is already in your Father’s hands. You can trust in the Sovereignty of God and His Divine positioning of your life.
No change takes Him by surprise, and there is nothing He cannot redeem.
2. Honour Those who have Gone Before
One of the notable things about Ezekiel’s ministry is the parallel between his prophecies and those of Jeremiah. For example:
- The responsibility of individuals for their own sin (Jer 31:29-30, Ezek 18:2-31)
- Evil shepherds replaced by a righteous King of David’s descent (Jer 23:1-6, Ezek 34:1-24)
- The two unfaithful sisters Israel and Judah (Jer 3:6-11, Ezek 23:1-49)
- A new spiritual nature (Jer 31:33-34, Ezek 11:19-20, 36:25-29) 
It is evident that Ezekiel was familiar with Jeremiah’s teaching. Perhaps he heard Jeremiah preaching at the temple in his youth. Or maybe he had copies of Jeremiah’s writings in exile.
Beyond the evidence we can see an attitude—one of honour. And God was able to bless and multiply Ezekiel’s ministry, using him to prophesy to generations to come, because he found a man He could trust. In Ezekiel, God found someone who would faithfully build upon the foundations of another man of God for the hour—the Prophet Jeremiah.
Their ministry overlapped and their prophecies complemented each other.
Today, God is looking for those who will embrace God-given spiritual fathers and mothers; to learn from them, serve them, honour them and harmonise with them.
He is looking for those to whom He can entrust His message—those who will build faithfully upon the foundations of those who have gone before.
3. Yield to the Holy Spirit
Ezekiel is known as ‘the Prophet of the Holy Spirit.’
Again and again, the Holy Spirit is mentioned in conjunction with Ezekiel’s prophetic experiences:
- As He spoke to me the Spirit entered me and set me on my feet; and I heard Him speaking to me. (Ezek 2:2)
- Then the Spirit lifted me up (Ezek 3:2, 3:14, 8:3, 11:1 etc)
- Then the Spirit of the Lord fell upon me (Ezek 11:5 NKJV)
- He brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me down in the middle of the valley; and it was full of bones. (Ezek 37:1)
Ezekiel was dependent upon the Holy Spirit for his ministry and his life was marked by intimacy with the Spirit. God entrusted him with remarkable visions and experiences.
Ezekiel reminds us that intimacy with the Holy Spirit is foundational to our lives and ministries and is to be treasured and cultivated above all.
4. Be Faithful and Leave the Results to God
‘Behold, you are to them like a sensual song by one who has a beautiful voice and plays well on an instrument; for they hear your words but they do not practice them. So when it comes to pass—as surely it will—then they will know that a prophet has been in their midst.”’ (Jer 33:32)
Ezekiel was called to prophesy God’s word to a generation that would not change its lifestyle and to people whose hearts would remain hardened. (Ezek 2:3-7)
Ezekiel ministered to an audience of One. He was faithful to speak all that God gave him to speak and to minister for the approval of God alone.
Like Ezekiel, there are times in our lives when we cannot see the visible results or fruit of our service and efforts for God.
Perhaps those to whom we are ministering fail to express gratitude towards us—or perhaps they do not appreciate or receive us at all. Maybe, as happened with Ezekiel, they make a show of enjoying our teaching or message, but do not follow through with changed lives.
When this happens, like Ezekiel, we must remember Who we serve. What matters at the end of each day is to hear His words resounding in our spirits: “Well done, good and faithful servant.” (Matt 25:21)
Then, leave the results to Him.
‘God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.’ (Heb 6:10)
Ezekiel’s life and ministry reminds us that no matter what happens, the strength of God will help us to stand in the toughest of times. For the very name Ezekiel means, ‘God Strengthens’ or ‘God is Strong.’
 Ezekiel 1:1, Numbers 4:3.
Note this was also the age at which Jesus began His ministry. Ezekiel can be seen as a type of Christ. Throughout his prophecies, God addressed him as ‘son of man.’ This was one of Jesus’ preferred names for Himself. (Ezek 2:1, Matt 8:20)
 There are many more parallels between the messages of Jeremiah and Ezekiel—it is well worth the study.
 Reference materials used:
DAVIS, J.G. Davis Dictionary Of The Bible. 1972. London: Pickering & Inglis.
HAYFORD, J W, Ed. The Spirit-Filled Life Bible. 1991. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
HAYFORD, J W, Ed. The Hayford Bible Handbook. 1995. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
Do you have any insights or responses to share about lessons from Ezekiel? I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment on the comments box. If the comments box is not visible, click on this link and scroll down.
© Helen Calder Enliven Blog – Prophetic Teaching
On team with David McCracken Ministries: Prophetic Ministry That Empowers The Church
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