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The Will of God, Ezekiel, and You
Do you know someone who is very much concerned with their physical health? I actually know quite a few. They seem to always have some tidbit of information on different types of foods. They can tell you what is good for you, bad for you, and not so good for you after all. One of these people told me about a certain type of bread. This bread was supposed to be extremely healthy and was based on the recipe of the bread that Ezekiel made in The Book of Ezekiel. It is called (not surprisingly) 'Ezekiel Bread'.
When she showed me this bread and generously offered me a taste of it, I got to thinking about the prophet, himself, and the story around the bread that he ate.
Ezekiel And God's Instructions To Him
Ezekiel had been told by God to make this bread as a sign to the children of Israel and Judah. It was made of barley, beans, lentils, millet, fitches, and wheat and it was cooked over cow's dung as Ezekiel asked God to spare him the task of cooking it over human dung. This bread was to be made like barley cakes were made and Ezekiel was allowed to eat a certain amount of bread a day and no more. He was to eat the bread while lying on his left side without turning for three hundred and ninety days as a sign to Israel and he was to eat the bread for forty days on his right side as a sign to Judah. (See Ezekiel Chapter 4)
Personally, I do not think that Ezekiel enjoyed eating that bread for that length of time. Obviously he was asked to do something that would be thoroughly uncomfortable for him. Yet, Ezekiel did it because it was the will of the Lord God.
The Will of God
God's will explained simply is what God would have us to do. God's will refers to things going His way rather than our way. It is strange how easy it is for us to want God's will to involve only good things. Scripture passages where God blesses His chosen people are selected and preached about. There is never a lack of great joy and many smiles when people hear that God has a great plan for you and that He desires that you be happy. What people do not understand is that God's ways are not our ways and that the happiness that He brings, the happiness of eternal life, does not mean that on earth our lives should be rosy and bright.
Ezekiel the prophet, just like many of the other prophets is a perfect example of this. Do you think that Ezekiel liked lying on the ground on a pallet in the sight of the people? Did you think he liked cooking with cow dung as fuel, shaving his hair and burning it in the sight of the people? But this was the will of the Lord and He was God's messenger to the people. Ezekiel walked in the will of God and acted according to His will and as a result he was able to speak to God and He revealed many things to him.
Walking according to the will of God means dying to the flesh and being prepared to sacrifice even bodily comfort in order to obey Him.
What Does That Have To Do With Me? Wasn't I Saved By Grace?
It is because we have been saved by grace that we should want to earnestly follow the will of God and walk in His steps. The law, which showed us our sins, led us to grace and we have been redeemed by the Most High God. Because of this, our eternal devotion to Him should be true even if it costs us and causes us pain. Jesus Christ endured the ultimate pain for us and yet we would hesitate to face a pain that would last for a moment?
As for the question 'Would a God who loves me cause me pain and distress? Would a God who cares cause me harm?' Job, the man of God who went through trouble, trial and turmoil received the answer from God Himself, and when he knew the truth, he said this:
"I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee.
Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.
Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me.
I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.
Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes." Job 42: 2-6 (K.J.V.)