-Jerusalem’s besiegement is foretold to Ezekiel by the LORD as this chapter engages the reader with some complicated spiritual-prophetic symbolism, which Ezekiel had to obediently carry out in the physical. He had to lay on his left side 390 days portraying the iniquity of Israel that the LORD was laying on him. These days corresponded to the years of their iniquity, which the prophet had to bear in pain and suffering discomfort. Then, at the completion of this act of over a year in duration, he was instructed to turn over and lay on his right side and bear the iniquity of the house of Judah for 40 days, a day for each year. At the end of this period he was instructed to set his face toward the siege of Jerusalem with his arm bared and prophesy against it. God put ropes upon him so that he could not turn from one side to the other until he completed the days of the siege (Ezekiel 4:1-8).
-He could eat during this time of wheat, barley, beans, lentils, millet, and spelt blended into one vessel and made into a bread. He was to eat this according to the number of days he lay on his side, 390 days. He also was given water to drink. This barley cake was to be baked in the sight of the Israeli people over human dung for the LORD’s stated purpose that they will “eat their bread unclean among the nations where I (the LORD) will banish them.” Ezekiel protests this defiling thing with the LORD and gets to eat his meals over cow dung instead. What an improvement, right? This showed that the LORD was going to break the staff of bread in Jerusalem, and that they would eat their bread there “by weight and with anxiety, and drink water by measure and in horror, because bread and water will be scarce; and they will be appalled with one another and waste away in their iniquity (Ezekiel 4:9-17).”
-*Application* Ezekiel’s vision of sin and judgment begins here with some uncomfortable symbolic actions for sure. As Christians we too may have to go through struggles at the LORD’s command to get His message across to people. Yield to His ways no matter how strange or painful they may seem. Be a faithful, obedient, and willing servant like Ezekiel. He argued a bit with the LORD for the right reasons, and God relented. God may do the same with you sometimes if you cry out.
Verse to Memorize: Ezekiel 4:5-6