Although Ezekiel’s visions and prophecies were clear and vivid, very little is known about the prophet’s personal life. He was among the thousands of young men deported from Judah to Babylon when King Jehoiakim surrendered. Until those tragic days, Ezekiel was being trained for the priesthood. Btu during the exile in Babylon, God called Ezekiel to be his prophet during one of Israel’s darkest times.
Ezekiel experienced the same kind of shocking encounter with God that Isaiah had reported 150 years earlier. Like Isaiah, Ezekiel was never the same after his personal encounter with God. Although God’s messages through both these prophets had many points in common, the conditions in which they lived were very different. Isaiah warned of the coming storm; Ezekiel spoke in the midst of the storm of national defeat that devastated his people. He announced that even Jerusalem would not escape destruction. In addition, during this time Ezekiel had to endure the pain of his wife’s death.
God’s destruction of Ezekiel as a watchman on the walls of the city captures the personal nature of his ministry. A watchman’s job was dangerous. If he failed at his post, he and the entire city might be destroyed. His own safety depended on the quality of his work. The importance of each person’s accountability before God was a central part of Ezekiel’s message. He taught the exiles that God expected personal obedience and worship from each of them.
As in Ezekiel’s day, it is easy for us today to forget that God has a personal interest in each one of us. We may feel insignificant or out of control when we look at world events. But knowing that God is ultimately in control, that he cares, and that he is willing to be known by us can bring a new sense of purpose to our lives. How do you measure your worth? Are you valuable because of your achievements and potential, or because God, your Creator and Designer, declares you valuable?
Strengths and accomplishments:
- Was a priest by training, a prophet by God’s call
- Received vivid visions and delivered powerful messages
- Served as God’s messenger during Israel’s captivity in Babylon
- God shaped his character to fit his mission – a tough and courageous man to reach a hard and stubborn people (Ezekiel 3:8)
Lessons from his life:
- Even the repeated failures of his people will not prevent God’s plan for the world from being fulfilled
- Each person’s response to God determines his or her eternal destiny
- In seemingly hopeless situations God still has people through whom he can work
- Where: Babylon
- Occupation: Prophet to the captives in Babylon
- Relatives: Father: Buzi. Wife: Unknown
- Contemporaries: Jehoiachin, Jeremiah, Jehoiakim, Nebuchadnezzar
Key verses: “And he said to me, ‘Son of man, listen carefully and take to heart all the words I speak to you. Go now to your countrymen in exile and speak to them. Say to them, “This is what the Sovereign LORD says,” whether they listen or fail to listen’ “ (Ezekiel 3:10, 11).
Ezekiel’s story is told in the book of Ezekiel and 2 Kings 24:10-17.