“You also, son of man, take a clay tablet and lay it before you, and portray on it a city, Jerusalem. Lay siege against it, build a siege wall against it, and heap up a mound against it; set camps against it also, and place battering rams against it all around. Moreover take for yourself an iron plate, and set it as an iron wall between you and the city. Set your face against it, and it shall be besieged, and you shall lay siege against it. This will be a sign to the house of Israel.
“Lie also on your left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel upon it. According to the number of the days that you lie on it, you shall bear their iniquity. For I have laid on you the years of their iniquity, according to the number of the days, three hundred and ninety days; so you shall bear the iniquity of the house of Israel. And when you have completed them, lie again on your right side; then you shall bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days. I have laid on you a day for each year.
“Therefore you shall set your face toward the siege of Jerusalem; your arm shall be uncovered, and you shall prophesy against it. And surely I will restrain you so that you cannot turn from one side to another till you have ended the days of your siege.
“Also take for yourself wheat, barley, beans, lentils, millet, and spelt; put them into one vessel, and make bread of them for yourself. During the number of days that you lie on your side, three hundred and ninety days, you shall eat it. And your food which you eat shall be by weight, twenty shekels a day; from time to time you shall eat it. You shall also drink water by measure, one-sixth of a hin; from time to time you shall drink. And you shall eat it as barley cakes; and bake it using fuel of human waste in their sight.”
Then the LORD said, “So shall the children of Israel eat their defiled bread among the Gentiles, where I will drive them.”
So I said, “Ah, Lord GOD! Indeed I have never defiled myself from my youth till now; I have never eaten what died of itself or was torn by beasts, nor has abominable flesh ever come into my mouth.”
Then He said to me, “See, I am giving you cow dung instead of human waste, and you shall prepare your bread over it.”
Moreover He said to me, “Son of man, surely I will cut off the supply of bread in Jerusalem; they shall eat bread by weight and with anxiety, and shall drink water by measure and with dread, that they may lack bread and water, and be dismayed with one another, and waste away because of their iniquity.
What a price to pay for disobedience! Punishment was not swift by man’s standards. The people had been disobedient for centuries with no apparent destruction. God’s longsuffering nature gave ample time to repent. The time given to repent and return to Him as Sovereign Lord that could have been viewed as a silent God or a God who is like an absent landlord. We would do well to take note of this. Lack of immediate judgment does not indicate an absent Lord. Neither does it validate sin, nor does it indicate judgment will not be delivered. Ezekiel’s assignment gave them further opportunity to repent. Death and deprivation were the price for the sin committed. They were warned of the coming siege, the lack of food and water. They were given time to prepare. God is the same, his judgment remains. Time is provided today for the opportunity to repent. This warning was given to the Israelites. And this warning remains for us; we can read it and receive it. Christ has since come and paid the price for the sins committed against the Lord. However it is still required of us to accept and receive. Acknowledge, repent, confess, and accept. Acknowledge our sin, repent of it, confess that sin and the name of Jesus as covering it, and accept Him as Lord, receive His redemption and with it the freedom from the penalty of sin, death. The purpose for all of this is not to be lost in the discussion over sin and redemption and that is the reunion of God’s creation, mankind, to him. He looks for our obedience as he did in the garden of Eden. He looks for our faithfulness. He has gone to great lengths to provide the means to return to him. Acknowledge Him, give Him glory; for who among us is capable of what He has done?
“I will set My glory among the nations; all the nations shall see My judgment which I have executed, and My hand which I have laid on them. Ezekiel 39:21