[reprinted from July 26, 2011]
Then the word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, I am about to take the delight of your eyes away from you with a fatal blow. But you must not lament or weep or let your tears flow. Groan quietly; do not observe mourning rites for the dead. Put on your turban and strap your sandals on your feet; do not cover [your] mustache or eat the bread of mourners.”
I spoke to the people in the morning, and my wife died in the evening. The next morning I did just as I was commanded. Â Â Â Â Ezekiel 24:15-18 (HCSB)
If you haven’t been with me in the devotion time very long you may not have read this before â€“ there are some hard passages in Scripture that are rarely taught or preached about. Those passages are there because this life in this world is hard. We need to know that others have gone before us and still decided to love, serve, and trust God.
Ezekiel is a prophet of God. He is speaking what God wants him to say to the people of God. Ezekiel isn’t winning any popularity contests by what he is saying but he continues to tell the people God’s truth. And then God tells him that He, God, is going to take away Ezekiel’s wife. She is going to die. â€œAnd, by the way, Ezekiel, I do not want you weeping and wailing with grief. Get back out there and get to work like I tell you!â€ Did God explain ‘why’? Nope.
I would rather study about how Jesus healed and raised the people from the dead. I would rather read how He kept Abraham from sacrificing Isaac. I would rather justify the death of David’s son by saying it was a consequence of David’s sins. But since I am not without sin, that line of reasoning doesn’t make me feel better.
There aren’t good, satisfying answers as to the ‘why’ God took Ezekiel’s wife. And God doesn’t spend His words explaining Himself. Would I understand if He did? Does God care that He caused Ezekiel pain?
“‘For here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to take you out of these countries, gather you from all over, and bring you back to your own land. I’ll pour pure water over you and scrub you clean. I’ll give you a new heart, put a new spirit in you. I’ll remove the stone heart from your body and replace it with a heart that’s God-willed, not self-willed. I’ll put my Spirit in you and make it possible for you to do what I tell you and live by my commands. You’ll once again live in the land I gave your ancestors. You’ll be my people! I’ll be your God! Â Â Â Ezekiel 36:24-28 (The Message)
Here is the loving, caring LORD that I count on to hold me and heal me. Like a child, I want love and gifts. But God is also Father who sees danger and the need for lessons where I do not.
One day, my then two-year-old twins were playing in our driveway. They had been told not to go into the street. I was sweeping the walk when suddenly one of them took off running down the driveway and into the street. We lived on a corner and there was a car coming down the street and would turn at our corner. I yelled and took off running! I snatched my child up and run back up into the drive. I was beyond upset because my child was in great danger. I was very curt when I spoke and made them both go inside. They cried. I had stopped their fun. They could not understand my reaction and I could not explain the situation so they could understand. It was a â€œbecause I said so!â€ situation.
God understands and knows far above what I do. My comparison of myself and my children is not an adequate comparison but it does give me a point of reference to accept God’s actions with Ezekiel and his wife even when I do not understand. From there I consider that God took Ezekiel’s wife â€œhomeâ€. She no longer had to live in the difficulties and pain of this world. Death is not the end for those who call God â€“ LORD. Death is just the door to the best gift â€“ life with our Father forever and ever. Though I grieve for those who pass through this door and leave me behind, I know that â€œsoonâ€ we will be together again â€“ forever and ever.
Abba Father written and sung by Klaus Kuehn