Chapter 12:1-7 (ESV) - The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, you dwell in the midst of a rebellious house, who have eyes to see, but see not, who have ears to hear, but hear not, for they are a rebellious house. As for you, son of man, prepare for yourself an exile's baggage, and go into exile by day in their sight. You shall go like an exile from your place to another place in their sight. Perhaps they will understand, though they are a rebellious house. You shall bring out your baggage by day in their sight, as baggage for exile, and you shall go out yourself at evening in their sight, as those do who must go into exile. In their sight dig through the wall, and bring your baggage out through it. In their sight you shall lift the baggage upon your shoulder and carry it out at dusk. You shall cover your face that you may not see the land, for I have made you a sign for the house of Israel.”
And I did as I was commanded. I brought out my baggage by day, as baggage for exile, and in the evening I dug through the wall with my own hands. I brought out my baggage at dusk, carrying it on my shoulder in their sight.
Question to consider: In what ways does Ezekiel point to Jesus in this passage?
Every time the Lord uses the term “Son of man” to refer to Ezekiel, I can’t help but look for ways in which he was a type and shadow for Christ. When speaking of the kingdom of God to the crowds, Jesus repeatedly used the phrase “he who has ears to hear let him hear”. Like Ezekiel, Jesus knew that people had so hardened their hearts in their pride and sin that they would not receive a word given to them directly from God. Since Ezekiel performed God’s dramas before the people, there was also the element of whether they had “eyes to see”. Jesus not only spoke the words of God, but He performed miraculous signs that only God could do, and yet people still did not have "eyes to see" who He was.
Even though Ezekiel was already exiled in Babylon, God had him dramatically act as one going into exile by packing up a bag, and exiting a hole that he was to dig in a wall. I presume it was either a wall built around the exile camp, or even the wall of his own household. Remember that God forced Ezekiel to be silent when giving these dramas so it must have been confusing to those who witnessed it.
Like Ezekiel, Jesus also lived among His Jewish brothers and sisters as one living in exile. Famously, when a scribe came up to Jesus and proclaimed that he would follow Him wherever He went, Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” (Matthew 8:20) Jesus was not welcomed anywhere. After His birth, Herod killed all the little boys around Bethlehem in the hope of killing Jesus. Jesus preached His first sermon in Nazareth where He grew up, and they rejected Him there. Jesus cast demons out of a man in the Gerasenes, and instead of being shown gratitude by the people in that region, Jesus was asked to leave. When Jesus finally came to the holy city and cleansed His own temple, the religious leaders questioned His authority and plotted to kill Him.
As Christians, we can also feel like exiles or aliens and strangers in a foreign land, for the world is not our home. We long for the day in which our King returns and sets everything right so that we’ll never be exiled again. In the meantime, like the exiles of the house of Israel, we are to, “Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” (Jeremiah 29:5-7)
Dear heavenly father, thank You for being a sanctuary for us as we are scattered throughout the world. Thank You for giving us Your word which is truth along with the true food and drink of our Savior. Thank You for giving us the Comforter and Sanctifier of our souls and for a congregation of believers who can love one another and build one another up in Christ. Amen.