Ezekiel- Chapter4

Ezekiel 4:4-8 - I wonder if he literally laid on his side, constantly, for 430 days. That's 14 months. Even if e di, he had to get up to eat (but not much, see next point) and go to the bathroom. Regardless, putting the extent of the punishment of Israel and Judah into these terms, and having him live it would give him an appreciation of how serious it was to God. Those days would be years for them. Not only so, I expect it would give him some sympathy for their plight.

Ezekiel 4:10-11 - 8 oz - 1/2 of a pound of bread a day (baked on human cow dung!) and 2/3 of a quart of water a day.

Ezekiel 4:16-17 - Jerusalem would not fare better:

Moreover, he said to me, "Son of man, behold, I will break the supply [7] of bread in Jerusalem. They shall eat bread by weight and with anxiety, and they shall drink water by measure and in dismay.

Imagine eating "by weight and with anxiety". And this was not, as we might like to think of God, for a grand, deep purpose. It was punishment, pure and simple. I believe that God's heart is ultimately to teach and to care for them, that they would return to Him and that they would be better off, but here there's no mention of that here:
I will do this that they may lack bread and water, and look at one another in dismay, and rot away because of their punishment.

I think I dismiss to easily that God would punish today. I see people receive indirect punishment in the consequences of their actions - a baby born to a teenage girl, jail time for the thief, etc - but I tend to dismiss outright the idea that God would send hardships or pain simple for punishment. Certainly, it's dangerous to pull one or two verses out of an OT book and say "See, Gos punishes us." or even worse, "See, God punishes and He is punishing you now."

I tend to want to see God as watching more than acting. He's set up the world to provide punishment for us when we stray. But that's certainly not the God of the OT, but it's not the God of the NT either who struck down Ananias and Sapphira for their lies. We cannot point to our trouble and pin it on God as punishment necessarily (doing so is frequently a cop out), but neither can we dismiss the idea, saying God isn't like that anymore.

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I feel ya...as a man who faces hardship often (not compared to some, but more than many in this country), I tend to feel punished, because of scriptures like the one you are reading. But, it is clear (biblically) that we are under a new covenant. This covenant stipulates that judgment is now waiting for judgment day. It also says that we should accept hardship as the Lord's discipline. He says that we are legitimate children of God because of our discipline from God. Discipline and punishment can often feel the same, but are not. I think that we can be judged through the local law authorities also (this also is in the New Testament). Our judicial system will punish you for your crimes, and that is a tool from God. God punished and judged the Jews with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD, as was foretold by Christ in Matthew 24. Some say that a hurricane or earthquake is God's wrath or punishment. There is merit in somebody thinking such things, because the bible is filled with such things happening. However, it says in the New Testament that the things that happened in Jewish/Hebrew history happened as a teaching tool for the rest of us, including the countless Gentile converts (the world). I think Ananias and Sapphira is a similar thing.

My thought are this: things like AIDS/HIV are not necessarily the wrath of God on the sexually immoral, but what if it was. It might as well be, because the main reason that AIDS spreads is out of marriage sex. Multiple partners. It is mostly the fault of males who are promiscuous. The "world" likes to say that people who get aids are victims, but the truth is, it is self inflicted because of sin, which is a choice (unless rape or blood transfusions are involved, then it is a victim thing, tragically). NOW, the sad, incredibly sad, thing is that now Children pay the price of their sexually immoral fathers by being born with AIDS. This is especially the case in Africa right now. The truth of the matter, is that if everybody in the world who had AIDS stopped having sex, there would be no more children born with the disease, and no more mothers catching the disease. The disease would stop if you stopped the sin. So, as a result of sin, people get put to death from disease. That sounds like judgment and punishment. But if it is not, what does it matter?; the outcome is the same. So, I tend to think that sin is destructive, and it is all of us who have to pay. Again, the real sin is the tragic truth of these children who have to pay for their parent's sin, as it were.

The truth of the matter is that we are all sinners, and deserve what ever punishment we get. We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We are all by nature objects of wrath. Once we reach that point that we are able to truly understand the consequences of our sin, and can truly understand how the grace of God plus our faith is that magic combo, then we are responsible for it. Truer to the point, once we reach that age where this can be achieved, we are then responsible (which is a strong argument for the necessity of baptism for anyone under the age of 18 to 20, but that is just my personal thinking).

But I digress, you can be disciplined and not be punnished, but it may feel very much the same.

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  • I feel ya...as a man who faces hardship often (not compared to some, but more than many in this country), I tend to feel punished, because of scriptures like the one you are reading. But, it is clear (biblically) that w...

    P. Allan Frederick
    Ezekiel- Chapter4