Our first response to this question might naturally be, “Of course not!” But consider for a moment those things you hold closest to you, perhaps your children or your parents; perhaps your own health or your spouse, maybe its a job or home. If God took any of these away, would we view this as an intrusion of Him into our lives?
In the Scriptures we have multiple examples of God intruding into the lives of His people. Such familiar examples as Abraham with Isaac, Job with children, health, and possessions, and David with the loss of his child, among others. However, a less familiar example may be found with Ezekiel and the loss of his wife.
15 The word of the Lord came to me: 16 “Son of man, behold, I am about to take the delight of your eyes away from you at a stroke; yet you shall not mourn or weep, nor shall your tears run down. 17 Sigh, but not aloud; make no mourning for the dead. Bind on your turban, and put your shoes on your feet; do not cover your lips, nor eat the bread of men.” 18 So I spoke to the people in the morning, and at evening my wife died. And on the next morning I did as I was commanded. Ezekiel 24:15-18The prophet Ezekiel was frequently asked by God to perform sign-acts in order to depict the pending judgments that God was about to bring on Israel, specifically Judah. In order to get the attention of the people, most of these were extremely intense and shocking observations, but were purposefully so in order to convey the gravity and weight of God’s wrath. One particular sign-act, as cited above, concerned the personal life of Ezekiel. In the passage, God specifically tells Ezekiel that He is about to take the life of his wife. The terms that are used to describe her, “the delight of your eyes”, help us to get perspective on how precious she was to the young prophet. While the announcement of taking her life is shocking enough, what is even more shocking is God’s command for Ezekiel not to mourn, not even to shed a tear. He was allowed to sigh, but otherwise he was to get dressed in normal clothes, as opposed to mourning in sackcloth and ashes, and he was to eat normally, as opposed to a feast or meal that might normally accompany mourning a death.
Remarkably, Ezekiel doesn’t protest; doesn’t complain or object; and in truth, he offers no comment back to God at all. Only simple, willing obedience and compliance.
Consider this: Out of all that the prophet Ezekiel was asked to do, including some very painful acts of being bound and lying on each side for a total of 430 days (390 on his left side; 40 on his right side), some very embarrassing acts such as shaving his head and beard, being vagabond, and even mute except when God told him to prophesy, and now enduring the emotionally painful death of his wife, in all of this the only objection and complaint that he offered was when God told him to cook bread on human dung. Even in this, God allowed the substitute of cow dung instead. Literally every area of Ezekiel’s life was available for the intrusion, if we may even call it that now, of God. The question before us is, is every area of our lives available at God’s disposal? Would we be as obedient, without offering the slightest objection should we be required by God to do the most painful, the most difficult, or embarrassing?
Ezekiel’s sign-act of not mourning for the death of his wife was symbolic for how the leaders of Jerusalem were to respond to the “death” of the temple, God’s sanctuary. While this one sign-act was a lesson for the audience of his day, the life of Ezekiel in total is a typological representation of the life of our Lord, even down to God referring to him as “son of man.” Our Lord went silent and willingly to His death on the cross, offering no objection. His entire life was ready and available for the purposes and glory of God.
What about us? Would that we would be willing, available, and ready for the service of God in any and all areas of our life.
Soli Deo Gloria