Verse 1 – “You also, son of man, take a clay tablet and lay it before you, and portray on it a city, Jerusalem.
Sketching on a clay tablet the siege that was about to come, was no easy task. Following God’s instructions weren’t easy either. When God gives an assignment, pay close attention to the details, they do matter.
Verse 2 – “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.
Verse 3 – “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 besiege, and you shall lay siege against it. This will be a sign to Israel.
Verse 4 – “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.
By Ezekiel laying on his side in front of the people, he was representing the condition and suffering of the inhabitants of those who are bound and in prison or oppressed by sickness. He could not turn from the left side to the right.
Verse 5 – “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.
Verse 6 – “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.
Ezekiel lay on his left side 390 days to show that Israel would be punished 390 years, then he lay on his right side 40 days to show that Judah would be punished 40 years. Jerusalem was imprisoned within its walls of the city while they were under siege by the enemy.
Verse 7 – “Therefore you shall set your face toward the siege of Jerusalem; your arm shall be uncovered, and you shall prophesy against it.
Verse 8 – “And surely I will constrain you so that you cannot turn from side to another till you have ended the days of your siege.
The siege that Ezekiel was predicting lasted 2 years (2 Kings 25:1-8).
Verse 9 – “Also take for yourself wheat, barley, beans, lentils, millet (cereal), 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.
Verse 10 – “And your food which you shall eat shall be by weight, twenty shekels a day; from time to time you shall eat it.
Verse 11 – “You shall also drink water by measure, one-sixth of a hin; from time to time you shall drink.
Verse 12 – “And you shall eat it as barley cakes; and bake it using fuel of human waste in their sight.”
The small amount of food and water he was allowed to eat represented the ration provided to those living under siege. Cooking his food on human waste represented Judah’s spiritual uncleanness.
Verse 13 – Then the Lord said, “So shall the children of Israel eat their defiled bread among the Gentiles, where I will drive them.”
Verse 14 – 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.”
Verse 15 – Then He said to me, “See, I am giving you cow dung instead of human waste, and you shall prepare your bread over it.”
Verse 16 – 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,
Verse 17 – “that they may lack bread and water, and be dismayed with one another, and waste away because of their iniquity.
Their entire food supply would be devastating because they couldn’t go outside the city walls.
What can we learn from what God told Ezekiel to do? First, I think about how totally useless everything is that we do in this life without God to guide us. Without Christ, everything smells to high heavens as self-centerdness. Even our small jesters of random kindness can’t cover up or make up for our sins. Only Christ can cover us with His precious blood, that was shed on our behalf, to make us clean before God!