Ezekiel is a difficult book to read and who would think to look for an example of marriage in it ~ I certainly didn’t begin the book with that in mind. Ezekiel was a priest that God chose to use as a prophet too. When you get to chapter 24 you read that he is married.
God tells him in verses 15-27 that He, God, is about to take the ‘delight of his eyes’ away from him, in a stroke. God further instructs him that he is not to mourn or weep for her. He may sigh, but not aloud. He is to dress, go about his day. This would be unusual and would be noticed by the Israelites. God intends to use this event in Ezekiel’s life to be a sign to the Israelites and a warning they should know that God is the Lord. In verse 25, God reveals that He is about to take away from the Israelites their stronghold, their joy, glory, the delight of their eyes and their soul’s desire.
This passage intrigued me in several ways. To understand some of its many applications, I looked up the word ‘delight’. The definition as a noun is to have a feeling of extreme pleasure or satisfaction or to be a source of such feeling. As a verb, it means to give pleasure to; to make the most of said pleasure; to hold spellbound - to enchant, enthrall or enrapture. Thus, there are two responsibilities associated with the word delight. One is that you choose to make the most of the pleasure your spouse brings to you, physically, mentally, emotionally … you focus on what is pleasing to you. The other is that you are intentional to give pleasure, be pleasing, physically, mentally and emotionally to your spouse. If we are a spouse, we hold responsibility in both ways. We are without excuse either way.
Several questions came to mind. What must it have been like for Ezekiel? Scripture says Ezekiel spoke to the people in the morning and in the evening his wife died. We do not know if God revealed to him ‘when’ this would take place. Notice his actions, he went to speak to the people as usual—obeying his call from the Lord. Did he tell his wife? How much more did he delight in her? Did he? Were his words any different to his wife? How much did Ezekiel love the Lord, fear the Lord, worship Him so as to humble himself to God’s calling and plan for his life in such a way? In verse 18, it reads the next morning after his wife died, he did what he was commanded.
As I thought about all these things I was struck by several questions. What kind of spouse am I being to my husband? Am I more focused on how pleasing ‘he’ is being to me than I am about pleasing God by pleasing my husband? Do I hold my relationship with a humble heart so as to submit myself to God’s plan, grateful for each day the Lord gives me? There is also the lesson to be learned in the general theme of the book—God was going to discipline the Israelites because of their disobedience. God expects us to behave towards our spouses in a way that is pleasing to him first and foremost as His children and in a way that is pleasing towards our spouse because we are one in Him. Do I fear, love and worship God so much that I obey him and his call to me as a wife no matter what? Do you?
There is a lot to learn from Ezekiel. I pray the impressions God has laid upon my heart will not be wasted and I will bring glory and pleasure to God more with each passing day. I pray that we all will.