Chapter 12:17-20 (ESV) - And the word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, eat your bread with quaking, and drink water with trembling and with anxiety. And say to the people of the land, Thus says the Lord God concerning the inhabitants of Jerusalem in the land of Israel: They shall eat their bread with anxiety, and drink water in dismay. In this way her land will be stripped of all it contains, on account of the violence of all those who dwell in it. And the inhabited cities shall be laid waste, and the land shall become a desolation; and you shall know that I am the Lord.”
Question to consider: Why would the people of Jerusalem be eating and drinking with anxiety and dismay?
When I imagine this scene, I picture Ezekiel using exaggerated actions in his dramas since they were done in silence. So when he trembled, I could see him struggling to actually take bites of the bread because his hand was shaking so much or the water spilling out of the cup as he tried to get a few drops into his mouth. Maybe the people who witnessed him even laughed at the sight– that is until the Lord spoke through Ezekiel and said that those in the land would be trembling in fear for the violence that would come upon those who dwelt in Jerusalem.
When the Lord led the people of Israel through the desert for forty years, they received the manna and the quail and the water from the rock. They had no land to call their own and dwelt in tents, but the Lord protected them so that they never had to tremble in fear as they ate their bread. It is sad to think of how far they had fallen from that time. The Lord gave them a land and a holy city instead of tents and a temple instead of a tabernacle where He promised to dwell. Rather than relying on the protection and provision of God, Israel built walls around the city and ignored God’s Sabbath years.
At the point in which they should have felt the most protected and content, they instead became dissatisfied and went after other gods and amassed earthly wealth to the point where the Babylonians took interest in it and were willing to destroy the city to get to it. They deluded themselves into thinking they were protected within the city and were now faced with the terror of knowing that violence was on their very doorstep.
This should frighten us today as well. How far have we walked away from the Lord and submitted to a culture that has made us soft through decadent living? How brazen have we become to pursue our own desires while ignoring the clear word of God? How much have we bought into a false sense of security because our land has been protected by oceans? And yet we live at a time in which people have never been more discontent, anxious, and depressed.
Dear heavenly father, please help us to remember that You are our strength and salvation. May we be content with what You have given us and spend our days growing in our knowledge of Christ and making Him known to others. Amen.