Ezekiel employs a bit of dramatic acting in order to make his point. The Lord commanded him to prepare baggage that would be used for exile and, in the sight of the people, to go from one place to another with the baggage. The prophet even dug through a wall in order to picture exiles desperately sneaking out of a city. It is important that the people understand the prophet’s message, and if a bit of dramatic acting will help, the Lord is quite willing to use that.
The people will go into exile, and again, the Lord states a reason: that “they shall know that I am the Lord” (12:15,16). The prophet speaks truth, and he does so with a right motivation. How different are the false prophets and the people of whom the Lord said, “You have profaned me among my people for handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread” (13:19). Furthermore, the idolatrous elders (chapter 14) do abominations and lead the people to do so. Jerusalem is a useless vine (chapter 15). Though the Lord has done so much for his bride, Israel has turned away (chapter 16).
Yet, the Lord says: “I will remember my covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish for you an everlasting covenant. . . . I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall know that I am the Lord” (16:60,62). God’s grace is almost unfathomable. Time and time again, in the face of treachery and disloyalty, God reaches out to his people and determines to bless them! To Israel, the Lord says: “I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall know that I am the Lord, that you may remember and be confounded, and never open your mouth again because of your shame, when I atone for you for all that you have done, declares the Lord God” (16:62). Just amazing!
O’erwhelmed with thy stupendous grace,
I shall not in thy presence move;
But breathe unutterable praise,
And rapturous awe, and silent love. –Charles Wesley (18th century)