My wife and I have a running joke in our marriage. When it comes to a concern about our kids, I will often say, “Don’t worry, they’ll be fine.” When it comes to a concern about money, though, I can feel like things are never fine. Michelle will worry about the kids, however, and when it comes to money she’ll say, “Don’t worry, it will be fine.” Does that resonate with you? How do you resolve the difference of opinion?
As we continue reading Ezekiel 13, God has a difference of opinion with so-called prophets. He is viewing a situation very differently from them, and he is deeply concerned.
In the previous post, we read how God expressed his concerned, calling out the prophets. Now as we read in verses 10-16, God is still not done describing the false prophets, and this time he likens them to a flimsy wall. God says that those people are like a wall that looks nice and shiny and strong on the outside, but behind all that luster is a flimsy foundation. It is a weak wall, and when a storm comes, the rain, hail, and wind will knock down the wall, taking the false prophets with it. What will the result be? Then the people will see that the so-called prophets were false. In verse 14, we read that then the people will know that God is God.
Notice the content of false message of the false prophets. It’s there in verses 10 and 16. The prophets declared that there would be peace, but God says, “There is no peace.” In other words, the prophets created a false sense of security. The wall looked good on the outside, but it did not have strength, a strong foundation, or fortifications. What the prophets needed was to see the truth, that things were in bad shape, that the people were sinning, in rebellion, allowing themselves to lust after pagan idols, live greedy lives and engage in injustice, rather than pursue the ways of God. A false prophet, instead, said, “Things are fine. There will be peace.”
What is so hard to see is the truth about a situation. If something is not fine, we need to be able to identify it and say, “That’s not good.” Often, we can identify it, but we might not have the courage to call it out. We might think, “That’s not fine,” but the words out of our mouths are, “It’s fine,” because we don’t want to offend someone or we don’t want to be a burden.
God is saying that the false prophets, because they were not in relationship with him, either did not speak the truth, or they actively sought to avoid the truth, or to deceive the people with lies. This was a grave wickedness on their part. Those false prophets should not have been prophesying peace, they should have been prophesying repentance.
So God tells Ezekiel to do something that we haven’t seen Ezekiel do since chapter 6, the Prophetic Stare. Read the first part of verse 17.
Remember the Prophetic Stare? In verse 17, we read about the Prophetic Stare when God says Ezekiel is to set his face against the daughters who prophesy out of their own imagination. The Prophetic Stare is not a superpower. In fact, nothing physical occurs when Ezekiel stares. Instead, the stare is like the blazing light of God’s truth, shining in the darkness, showing what is actually happening.
Previously he used the Prophetic Stare on the mountains of Israel, because the people were committing idolatry and pagan ritual worship at religious sites up in the mountains. Now God wants Ezekiel to use the Stare against women who were false prophets, which he has been describing all along in this chapter. We read in chapter 13, verse 17 that these women prophesy out of their own imagination, they are making up prophecies.
I love to imagine what Ezekiel’s various prophetic skits looked like. When he used the Stare, it seems he would literally just stare, setting his face against whatever God asked him to stare at. Staring contests can get intense, right? Have you ever tried to see who can look at another person’s eyes the longest without looking away? It can get emotional.
Imagine if the women that Ezekiel is to set his face against are right there in Babylon with him? He walks up to them, and just stares at them, locking eyes, and if they don’t like it, and they turn away, he still stares at them. Maybe they try to walk away, and he follows them closely, saying nothing, just staring. How long would you allow a person to come up to you and just stare at you? It wouldn’t take long until you would say, “Uh…Can I help you?” Or maybe your personality would be a bit more like, “What are you doing??? Why are you staring at me? Go away!!! Creep!” In our culture, you might call 911!
Almost as if to answer the question, “What are you doing? Why are you staring at me?”, God tells Ezekiel not only to stare, but to explain, to prophesy, to tell the truth. What truth? Check back to the next post to find out.