I was reading in Ezekiel Chapter 24 recently and was taken back when I got to verses 16 and 18:
Verse 16: “Son of man, behold, I take away from thee the desire of thine eyes [he is referring to Ezekiel’s wife] with a stroke: yet neither shalt thou mourn nor weep, neither shall thy tears run down”…..Verse 18: “So I spake unto the people in the morning: and at even my wife died: and I did in the morning as I was commanded.”
In a larger context, God was using the taking of Ezekiel’s wife as a sign and example to the Israelites. I stopped to ponder and meditate on this for a while. Matthew Henry says this about this passage:
“He must lose a good wife, that should suddenly be taken from him by death. God gave him notice of it before, that it might be the less surprise to him (v. 16): Behold, I take away from thee the desire of thy eyes with a stroke. Note, (1.) A married state may very well agree with the prophetical office; it is honourable in all, and therefore not sinful in ministers. (2.) Much of the comfort of human life lies in agreeable relations. No doubt Ezekiel found a prudent tender yoke-fellow, that shared with him in his griefs and cares, to be a happy companion in his captivity.
“Death is a stroke which the most pious, the most useful, the most amiable, are not exempted from. (5.) When the desire of our eyes is taken away with a stroke we must see and own the hand of God in it: I take away the desire of thy eyes. He takes our creature-comforts from us when and how he pleases; he gave them to us, but reserved to himself a property in them; and may he not do what he will with his own?”
Dr. John Gill has this to say:
“I take away from thee the desire of thine eyes with a stroke; meaning his wife; who very probably was of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to; however, of an amiable disposition, and in her conjugal relation very agreeable to the prophet; and, no doubt, a truly religious woman, and upon all account’s desirable to him. This lovely object of his affection the Lord, who is the sovereign disposer of all persons, signifies he would take away from him by death unto himself; that is, suddenly and at once.”
My carnal man at first responded emotionally and in defense of “Mrs.” Ezekiel. I thought, “Wow, what a raw deal to be taken from your beloved husband all because God wanted to prove a point. And I can’t believe Ezekiel was able to just ‘not’ grieve over his wife’s death as God commanded.” I thought of how much I love my husband and love being his wife and serving him, and it made me sad to think of us being apart, and my flesh really clung on to it. But then I was reminded how God in His word continues to reveal to me that we as His creatures are His handiwork, and He made us for HIS glory, and EVERYTHING He does is to bring glory to Himself:
– Isaiah 46:10 – “Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:”
– Daniel 4:35 – “And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?”
– 1 Samuel 2:6-8 – “6 The LORD killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up. 7 The LORD maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up. 8 He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the LORD’s, and he hath set the world upon them.”
– Psalms 39:5 “Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity.”
– Proverbs 16:4 – “The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.”
– Revelation 4:11 – “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”
…and I repented.
In this day and age, it seems to me we are taught to believe that God owes us something; or it is our right to live our lives in comfort and prosperity as happy as possible. But it’s not about me — it’s about Him! I am asking God to continue to set my mind right and see things from the perspective of “whatever and however God chooses to bring glory to Himself is what I want, whatever that looks like and however that affects my life.” I hope that if I had been Mrs. Ezekiel and had learned about the situation beforehand, I would have said something like, “What a privilege to be used of God for His glory in this manner! The Lord’s will be done!”
This is also helping me to take my focus off of myself in this lifestyle of agrarian separation we live, when things get really tough, uncomfortable or inconvenient. I want to be able to honestly hold that God is sovereign, so He knows EXACTLY what is going on, and this is how He has chosen to glorify HIMSELF in my life at this time. May I learn to ever say, “For THINE is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever, Amen.”
I thank God for the people in His timeless word through whom He has chosen to teach us these precious truths.