Ezekiel Chapter Five

An Unusual Haircut

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In our study of Ezekiel chapter five, we will see how God used a haircut and a shave to bring a warning to His people. In chapter four, we saw God declare judgment on Jerusalem with some unusual actions by the prophet. Here, God will use him to declare judgment on the people.

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Ezekiel 5:1

'Now, son of man, take a sharp sword and use it as a barber's razor to shave your head and your beard. Then take a set of scales and divide up the hair.'

These instructions from God would have been very unusual for three reasons. First, if you were going to shave, you would not normally use a sword as a sword was used in battle. The second reason is that it would have been unusual for a priest to shave his head as this was a sign of shame. The third reason is that, after he was done, he was to use a scale to divide the hair. This would have caused quite a stir as the people came to see what this "crazy" man was doing. We can be encouraged in our walk with the Lord through understanding that sometimes God can have you doing things that others don't understand. They may even call you crazy or a "Jesus Freak" but this is nothing new as it happened to the prophet here.

Ezekiel 5:2-4

'When the days of your siege come to an end, burn a third of the hair with fire inside the city. Take a third and strike it with the sword all around the city. And scatter a third to the wind. For I will pursue them with drawn sword. But take a few strands and tuck them away in the folds of your garment. Again, take a few of these and throw them into the fire and burn them up. A fire will spread from there to the whole house of Israel.'

We must keep in mind that Ezekiel was not to say a word during this time and these actions would have caused quite a stir. Here, we see four groups of people symbolized by the hair that was taken from his head. The first group were the people that were going to perish during the fall of Jerusalem. The second group was the people outside the city and the third was those throughout the land of Israel. These three groups were to let the people know that the judgment on the people was complete. The final group was a remnant that would be saved as God has always preserved a remnant of His people. A part of this remnant was then burnt up telling of the fact that some in this remnant would turn away from God.

Ezekiel 5:5 & 6

'This is what the Sovereign Lord says: "This is Jerusalem, which I have set in the center of the nations, with countries all around her. Yet in her wickedness she has rebelled against my laws and decrees more than the nations and countries around her. She has rejected my laws and has not followed my decrees."'

After the silent portrayal of the coming judgment, God tells the people the reason for the haircut. They were the people that had been chosen to receive the instructions from the Creator of all things. They received them but then ignored them bringing this judgment on themselves. We may ask what this has to do with us today as we are under grace and not law. The simple fact of the matter is that we still receive instruction from God through the Holy Spirit and we are responsible for listening and following Him. Our judgment is not a judgment of salvation but we will have a judgment of our works to determine our rewards.

Ezekiel 5:7

'Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: You have been more unruly than the nations around you and have not followed my decrees or kept my laws. You have not even conformed to the standards of the nations around you.'

Not only did they ignore the standards of God but they didn't even live up to the standards of the nations around them. We see much the same thing today from many who profess to know Jesus. They may be God's children but they act as if they are not and don't even live up to the standards of the society around them.

Ezekiel 5:8 & 9

'Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself am against you, Jerusalem, and I will inflict punishment on you in the sight of the nations. Because of all your detestable idols, I will do to you what I have never done and will never do again.'

God's people and Jerusalem were meant to be a bright shining example to the surrounding nations. Instead, they turned to idols and so God is bringing judgment on them in front of their neighbors.

Ezekiel 5:10

'Therefore in your midst fathers will eat their children, and children will eat their fathers. I will inflict punishment on you and will scatter all your survivors to the winds.'

The situation in Jerusalem is going to get so desperate that people will turn to eating each other. Those that survive this horror will be scattered among the nations. We may not be used to hearing about the punishment of God but it is also made clear that this judgment is from God.

Ezekiel 5:11 & 12

'Therefore as surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, because you have defiled my sanctuary with all your vile images and detestable practices, I myself will withdraw my favor; I will not look on you with pity or spare you. A third of your people will die of the plague or perish by famine inside you; a third will fall by the sword outside your walls; and a third I will scatter to the winds and pursue with drawn sword.'

The judgment is explained in great detail now and we see that the reason for it is that the people defiled the sanctuary. We may ask ourselves what this has to do with us as Christians and we are reminded that our bodies are now the temple of God. We see that God told them that He would withdraw His favor from them and the same is true for us when we walk outside of the will of God. God gives us the freedom to walk out our lives but He is not obligated to provide for those who are walking in their own direction.

Ezekiel 5:13

'Then my anger will cease and my wrath against them will subside, and I will be avenged. And when I have spent my wrath upon them, they will know that I the Lord have spoken in my zeal.'

The good news is that God's wrath has an end and He will spare a portion of the people. Those that are left are left for a purpose which is to tell others about what God has done.

Ezekiel 5:14 & 15

'I will make you a ruin and a reproach among the nations around you, in the sight of all who pass by. You will be a reproach and a taunt, a warning and an object of horror to the nations around you when I inflict punishment on you in anger and in wrath and with stinging rebuke. I the Lord have spoken.'

Israel was to be an example for those around them but had failed. In this judgment, they would be an example and a lesson for the nations. They are a lesson for the world today as well in the fact that God would do this to His "chosen people".

Ezekiel 5:16 & 17

'When I shoot at you with my deadly and destructive arrows of famine, I will shoot to destroy you. I will bring more and more famine upon you and cut off your supply of food. I will send famine and wild beasts against you, and they will leave you childless. Plague and bloodshed will sweep through you, and I will bring the sword against you. I the Lord have spoken.'

What started out with a prophet performing a drama is now clearly spoken by the Lord. It is made clear that this judgment is from Him and by Him.

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