Ezekiel Bible Study

Ezekiel ~ Lesson 3

 

Previous Lessons: 1, 2

Read Ezekiel 3:16-5:17

Questions to Consider

1. Review your notes from last week’s lesson and be reminded of the things that transpired in 1:1-3:15 that lead into, and set the stage for, this week’s passage. According to 3:16, how long after the events of 1:1-3:15 do the events of 3:16ff take place?

2. Read 3:16-21. What was the purpose of a (literal) watchman in Ezekiel’s day? Explain God’s charge to Ezekiel in this passage. Who was he to warn, and what was he to warn them about? What would be the consequences for Ezekiel for not warning the people as God commanded? What would be the result for him if he did obey God’s command to warn them?

Are there any general principles we can draw from this passage about our responsibility to share the gospel with the lost? What about confronting sin in a fellow Christian or warning the church against false teachers? Are the consequences Ezekiel faced for warning/not warning the same for Christians warning/not warning against sin and unbelief? Which New Testament Scriptures can you think of that would seem to be in line with, or would indicate a difference from, 3:16-21 for Christians?

What does this passage teach us about God’s perspective on sin and repentance?

3. Read 3:22-27.

What does 3:23 refer back to (hint- use your cross-references)? How did it benefit Ezekiel (in ch.1 and ch.3) to experience God’s glory right before God called him to do something difficult? How does immersing ourselves in the glory of God through His Word, prayer, and worship prepare us to do the difficult things He calls us to do?

What did God do to Ezekiel in 3:26-27? If Ezekiel was supposed to speak God’s word to the people, why would God make him mute? Why might God withhold His word or His truths from people? (3:26-27)

4. Read Ezekiel 4:1-5:17*.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Old Testament battle concept of siege and what siegeworks would have looked like, do some research as you consider chapter 4 (especially 4:1-3). It will give you a better understanding of the illustrations God was asking Ezekiel to set up and carry out in this passage. Sketch out or visualize what Ezekiel’s little diorama in 4:1-3 would have looked like. What did the iron wall and Ezekiel turning his face toward it represent?

Explain the message God is conveying to His people in 4:4-8. Using cross-references, commentaries, your Bible’s study notes, etc., what do the 390 years and 40 years represent? How does Ezekiel symbolically “bearing the punishment” and “laying down” his life for his people’s sin point toward Christ literally bearing the punishment and laying down His life for His people’s sin?

What part of the siege was God warning about in 4:9-17? What did the illustration of the bread mean? (4:16-17) Explain the concept of “uncleanness” for the Israelites and how horrifying and humiliating this part of God’s judgment should have been to them. Compare Ezekiel’s aversion to uncleanness to Peter’s. How is the concept of uncleanness an illustration of the holiness of God and His aversion to sin?

What was God’s message to the people in 5:1-4? (5:10b,12)

How did Israel’s sin compare to the sin of the pagan nations around them? (5:5-7) Make a list of the words and phrases in 5:5-17 that impress upon you just how deadly serious God is about sin and how intense is His wrath against sinners. When you finish making your list, read back through it and consider this wrath that God poured out on Christ on the cross as well as His mercy and grace in salvation toward you, a sinner.

As we continue on in Ezekiel, we will see other instances of God instructing Ezekiel to communicate His message through illustrations, dioramas, or a dramatic presentation rather than through a sermon or other direct verbalization. Why might this be God’s preferred method of communication with His people in these instances?


Homework

*(Homework is usually optional, but I’d really like you to do this one.) Ezekiel 5:13 is the first of 72 times in the book of Ezekiel that we will see the phrase (or some variant of it), “And they shall know that I am the Lord.” As we study through Ezekiel, keep a running list of each time you see this phrase, and write down who will know that He is the Lord, what will cause them to know He is the Lord, and why God wants them to know He is the Lord.

• Are you familiar with Ezekiel 4:9 Bread? Explain why their use of this Scripture is out of context for marketing their bread. Did God tell Ezekiel to make his bread from a combination of grains “to ensure unrivaled honest nutrition and pure, delicious flavors”? Think about the context of chapter 4 as you answer. Are you sinning if you eat this bread just because you happen to like it?


Suggested Memory Verse

 

Ezekiel Bible Study

Ezekiel ~ Lesson 2

Welcome, ladies! I’m so glad you’re here! I have received a lot of questions about the study that were answered in last week’s introductory lesson. Please do not skip Lesson 1 (link below). Not only will it answer any questions you may have about the study itself, but if you want to study Ezekiel properly, you must do the background work contained in Lesson 1.

 

Previous Lessons: 1

Read Ezekiel 1:1-3:15

Questions to Consider

1. Review your notes from last week’s introductory lesson. What are some things to keep in mind as you begin to study the text of Ezekiel today? Drawing from your notes and 1:1-3, imagine you’re a playwright and write the setting for the “script” of Ezekiel. Which phrases in verses 1 and 3 connect us to 2 Timothy 3:16?

2. Read 1:4-28. Does this passage remind you of any other biblical passages? Which ones, and why? Read through all of the cross-references and footnotes in this passage as well as any study Bible notes or commentaries you like on this passage in order to gain as good an understanding of it as you can. Why do prophetic visions of Heaven and the spiritual realm (apocalyptic passages) always seem so hard to understand? Is it OK if we read these passages and, despite our best efforts, don’t completely grasp all of the symbolism? Do you think Ezekiel understood everything he was shown?

What does 1:28b say that the main idea of 1:4-28a is? What was Ezekiel’s response to seeing the glory of God? (1:28b) How did being overwhelmed by God’s glory put Ezekiel in the right frame of mind and heart to receive and proclaim the message God subsequently gave him? (1:28b-2:2)

3. Read chapters 2-3.

Using your concordance, search the term “son of man“. Ignoring false results (ex: “son of Manasseh”), what are the main ways this term is used? How many times is Ezekiel called “son of man”? What other major Bible character is called the Son of Man? What is the difference between the reference to Ezekiel as “son of man” and Christ’s title “the Son of Man“?

To whom is God sending Ezekiel (2:3, 3:11), and why (2:4,7, 3:4,11)? How will Israel respond?(3:7) How would the pagans have responded if God had sent Ezekiel to them instead? (3:4-7) Explain the shame it should bring to God’s people – in Ezekiel’s day and today – when lost people respond to the preaching of God’s Word in repentance and faith, and those who claim to be His people do not.

Compare God’s charge to Ezekiel to speak His word to His people “whether they hear or refuse to hear” to God’s charge to pastors to preach the Word to His people “in season and out of season” in 2 Timothy 4:1-2.

Explain the metaphor of Ezekiel eating the scroll in 2:8-3:3. How does this apply to us as Christians today?

Why was it bad for Israel to be “hard headed” but good for Ezekiel to be “hard headed”? (3:7-9) Explain why a pastor, or any Christian, needs to be “hard headed” (yet soft-hearted) when dealing with Believers (or false converts) who are disobedient to God’s Word.


Homework

•If you’re artistic, illustrate part or all of the scene in 1:4-28.

•Are you familiar with the “heavenly tourism” books like Heaven Is for Real or 90 Minutes in Heaven that were popular a few years back? Read some of the descriptions of “Heaven” found in these books and compare them with Ezekiel’s, Daniel’s, and Revelation’s descriptions of heavenly scenes. How do they compare?

•From what I can tell, this church has horribly unbiblical theology, so don’t follow them or their beliefs, but I loved their choir’s rendition of Ezekiel Saw the Wheel. Listen carefully to the lyrics (or Google them). How closely do they match up to Ezekiel 1:4-28 and/or other passages of Scripture?


Suggested Memory Verse

Bible Study

A Hard Bible for Hard Times

These days, popular women’s “Bible” studies tend to be seven lessons of fluff, feelings, and false doctrine.

This is the “anti-study”.

Roughly 20 lessons of digging into the text of what can be a challenging passage of Scripture.

I believe you’re up for the challenge, ladies. Let’s study.

A couple of days ago, I launched Ezekiel – our new Bible study here on the blog – with these introductory remarks on social media. I made it pretty clear, both in my social media remarks and the introduction to the study itself that this wasn’t going to be your typical walk-in-the-park women’s “Bible” study designed to make you feel better about yourself.

Ezekiel is a long book. There are parts of it that are going to be hard to understand. There are parts of it that, to our flesh, are going to be boring. There are cubits. Lots and lots of cubits. This is a Bible study that’s going to require extra work – probably with commentaries and study Bibles. And I’m not making any “feel good” guarantees.

And yet, I was overwhelmed by the response from so many readers: “I’m in!” “Sign me up!” “Looks like a good time!” “Excited is an understatement!”

All this about….a hard text? More work? Even as we endure Corona and quarantine, separation from loved ones, the shuttering of our churches, economic hardship, increasing persecution, racial strife, rampant crime, rioting, anarchy, and God only knows what’s next?

Yeah. Want to know why?

It’s the same reason that being bone-weary after a long day of hot, sweaty yard work feels better than the mind-numbed sleepiness you feel when you’ve been binge-watching Netflix in your pajamas all day. The same reason you feel better after a satisfying, well-balanced meal than after snarfing a dozen Oreos.

It’s what we need.

It’s what’s good for us.

It’s accomplishing something lasting.

We need a hard Bible in these hard times.

Think about the hard times the first century Christians of the New Testament went through. For refusing to offer a pinch of incense in worship to Caesar, for declaring that Jesus alone – not Jesus plus the pantheon – is Lord, they were fed to the lions for sport, burned and boiled alive, crucified, beheaded, speared, beaten, stoned, whipped, exiled, and considered “the scum of the world, the refuse of all things.”

And for most of that first century, the bulk of the Scriptures Believers had access to was the Old Testament. The part that soft, milquetoasty, “I want a God made in my own image” evangelicals today want to “unhitch” from precisely because it’s hard.

While fearing for their very lives for following Christ, our forefathers in the faith studied the God who flooded the earth for its rebellion against Him, who wiped out pagan nations for their idolatry, who sent horrific plagues upon those who defied Him, and who poured out His wrath on His own people for their sin and spiritual whoredom.

They had a hard Bible during their hard times.

To be sure, they saw, and we also see, the God of mercy, love, and grace who spared Noah, who provided His children with a land flowing with milk and honey, who rescued the Hebrews out of slavery, and who blessed all who were faithful to Him. And we know that all of Scripture – the hard to swallow parts and the easy to embrace parts, the “dig in and study hard” parts and the simple and sweet to the soul parts – all of Scripture is profitable.

But we need a hard Bible for hard times.

Because hard passages that make us stop and spend extra time and effort build discipline, endurance, and patience into our spirits. They make us do the hard work of digging for the nature and character of God and reward us with the treasure of knowing Him more intimately. They show us who God is in a unique way that the easy passages do not.

Feelings, fluff, and false doctrine can never accomplish those ends. They do not prepare us to endure suffering and persecution with strength and dignity, but to whine and complain and focus on the hurt. They do not teach us who God truly is in our trials and temptations, but that we can create a custom-made idol we’re comfortable with and call it “God”. They do not lead us to trust and obey God when the going gets tough, but to abandon His Word and His statutes in favor of worldly means and methods of dealing with difficulties.

Most evangelical women today are spiritually flaccid because no one – not their denomination, nor their church, nor their pastor, nor their Sunday School teachers, nor their women’s ministry leaders, nor their favorite “Bible” study authors – has ever made them do the hard work of wrestling with challenging Scriptures, overcoming them, and adding that victory to their inventory of joy in Christ.

We need to raise the bar.

We need to expect more, not less.

We need to encourage the pink side of the pew to do hard spiritual things, and cheer them on and help them as they try.

The Kingdom doesn’t need weak women who don’t know their Bibles because all they’ve been taught – and all they’ve been taught to hunger for – is feelings, fluff, and false doctrine. Because those women crumple in the face of controversy. They fall away rather than stand and fight.

The Kingdom needs strong, godly women who apply their hearts and minds to knowing and understanding God’s Word and reach down to help their weaker sisters do the same.

Hiding God’s Word in our hearts doesn’t just mean we learn the surface-level do’s and don’t’s, giving us a spiritual Post-It note reminder not to lie and steal. In order to hide something, we first have to possess it. Own it. And to own God’s Word we have to plunge in and swim in it. Breathe it in and out. Drink deeply of it. Eat the honey-sweet scroll. Let it so penetrate our souls’ DNA that when the rooster begins to crow, and the accusers point and say, “I know you. You were with Jesus,” we can plant our feet firmly and mean it when we boldly declare, “Yes. And though others may fall away because of Him, I will never fall away. Even if I must die for Jesus, I will not sin by denying Him.”

Because those hard times are coming.

Indeed, they are already here.

And we need a hard Bible for hard times.

Ezekiel Bible Study

Ezekiel ~ Lesson 1- Introduction

Welcome to our new study: Ezekiel!

What is God’s perspective on sin?  What is His posture toward His people when they persist in sin…and when they repent? What was it like to be a prophet of (mostly) doom and gloom? For the next few months we’ll work our way through the book of Ezekiel, learning about the holiness of God and what it’s like to stand on God’s Word even when “God’s people” don’t want to hear it. You might be surprised to find out just how relevant this Old Testament book is to Christians today!

The image in the title pic for this study alludes to Ezekiel 33:7:

So you, son of man, I have made a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me.

In Ezekiel’s day a watchman would be stationed in a watchtower in an area with good visibility so he could see if an enemy was approaching the city. The watchman needed good eyes and the ability to distinguish an enemy from an ally. If he spotted an enemy, he was to alert everyone to the impending threat and the need to mount a defense. God appointed Ezekiel a spiritual “watchman” to His people, Israel. The book of Ezekiel is God’s warning to His people – through the prophet Ezekiel – that the enemy of sin is overtaking them.

Parts of the book of Ezekiel can be a little challenging. Your comprehension will be challenged. Your patience might even be challenged. But it’s good to stretch ourselves and choose books that help us to develop discipline in our study of the Word, rather than always choosing the shorter or “easier” books of Scripture. I have complete confidence that you’re up for the challenge and that God will grow you in the grace and knowledge of Christ as you apply yourself to His Word.

Ezekiel is one of the longer books of Scripture, weighing in at 48 chapters. This means that instead of studying approximately one chapter per week in depth (as we usually do in my studies of shorter books), we will be covering at least two chapters (often more) per week with a broader perspective.

As I mentioned in this recent article on study resources, you might – particularly for this book of the Bible – want to invest in a good study Bible or at least check out some of the online resources that can help if you have questions while you’re studying.


If you’re new to using my Bible studies, just a few housekeeping items and helpful hints:

The studies I’ve written (you can find all of them at the Bible Studies tab in the blue menu bar at the top of this page) are like “training wheels”. They’re designed to teach you how to study the Bible for yourself and what kinds of questions to ask of the text so that, when you get the hang of it, you won’t have to depend on other people’s books and materials – even mine – any more. To that end, I do not provide answers for the study questions in the studies I’ve written.

My studies are meant to be extremely flexible and self-paced so that you can use them in the way that works best for you. You can do an entire lesson in one day or work on the questions over the course of the week (or longer). You do not need to feel obligated to answer all (or any) of the questions. If the Holy Spirit parks you on one question for several days, enjoy digging deep into that one aspect of the lesson. If He shows you something I haven’t written a question about that captures your attention, dive in and study it! Those are ways the Holy Spirit speaks to us through His Word. This is your time to commune with the Lord, not a school assignment or work project you are beholden to complete in a certain way by a certain deadline.

I will post a new lesson on the blog every Wednesday, so there is nothing to sign up for or commit to. Simply stop by the blog each week, or subscribe to the blog via e-mail to have the lessons delivered to your inbox.

I use hyperlinks liberallyThe Scriptures for each lesson will be linked at the beginning of the lesson and in the lesson questions. As you’re reading the lesson, whenever you see a word in a different color text, click on it, and it will take you to a Scripture, article, or other resource that will help as you study.

All of the studies I’ve written are suitable for groups or individuals. You are welcome to use them as a Sunday school or Bible study class curriculum (for free) with proper attribution.

You are also welcome to print out any of my Bible studies (or any article I’ve written) for free and make as many copies as you’d like, again, with proper attribution. I’ve explained more about that in this article (3rd section).


Introduction to Ezekiel

Before we begin studying a book of the Bible, it’s very important that we understand some things about that book. We need to know…

Who the author was and anything we might be able to find out about him or his background.

Who the audience of the book is: Jews or Gentiles? Old Testament Israelites or New Testament Christians? This will help us understand the author’s purpose and approach to what he’s writing.

What kind of biblical literature we’re looking at. We approach books of history differently than books of wisdom, books of wisdom differently than books of prophecy, etc.

What the purpose of the book is. Was it written to encourage? Rebuke? Warn?

What the historical backdrop is for the book. Is Israel at war? At peace? In exile? Under a bad king? Good king? Understanding the historical events surrounding a piece of writing help us understand what was written and why it was written.

When the book was written. Where does the book fall on the timeline of biblical history? This is especially important for Old Testament books which are not always arranged in chronological order.

So this week, before we start studying the actual text of the book of Ezekiel, we need to lay the foundation to understanding the book by finding the answers to these questions.

Read the following overviews of the book of Ezekiel, taking notes on anything that might aid your understanding of the book, and answer the questions below:

Bible Introductions: Ezekiel at Grace to You

Overview of the Book of Ezekiel at Reformed Answers

Summary of the Book of Ezekiel at Got Questions

1. Who wrote the book of Ezekiel? How do we know this?

2. Approximately when was Ezekiel written? What is the geographical setting of the book of Ezekiel? Here are some maps (scroll down to “Ezekiel”) that may be helpful as you study through the book of Ezekiel.

3. Who is the original, intended audience of the book of Ezekiel? Describe the historical setting (historic events, politics, sociology of the time, etc.) of Ezekiel.

4. Which genre of biblical literature is the book of Ezekiel: law, history, wisdom, poetry, narrative, epistles, or prophecy/apocalyptic? What does this tell us about the approach we should take when studying this book versus our approach to books of other genres?

5. What is the theme or purpose of the book of Ezekiel?

6. What are some of the major topics of instruction or exhortation in the book of Ezekiel? How do these topics relate to the theme of Ezekiel?

7. What are some ways Ezekiel points to and connects to Jesus?

8. What else did you learn about Ezekiel or the setting of this book that might help you understand the text of the book better?

Take some time in prayer this week to begin preparing your heart for this study. Ask God to give you wisdom and understanding for the text and a greater appreciation for his attributes of wrath and mercy as we study Ezekiel together.

Uncategorized

The Word on Wednesdays

I’m going to be taking a break on Wednesdays getting ready for our new study. I hope you’ll enjoy it and that it will edify you as you seek to grow in Christ and His Word. (The picture above does not mean we will be studying James. :0) Unless Providentially hindered, I hope to announce the new study in the next few weeks. Stay tuned, and keep an eye on the blog on Wednesdays.

In the meantime, I’ll be posting some articles from the archives that I think you’ll find helpful as we make our way toward our next study. Here is this week’s article:

Wednesday’s Word

Wednesday is Bible study day here on the blog. In my Wednesday’s Word Bible study series you’ll find miscellaneous, one lesson Bible studies from each book of the Bible. One chapter of Scripture followed by study questions. This sampler series demonstrates that there’s nothing to be afraid of when approaching those “lesser known” books and that every book of the Bible is valuable and worth studying.

Wednesday’s Word ~ Lamentations 3

lam 3 22 23

I am the man who has seen affliction
under the rod of his wrath;
he has driven and brought me
into darkness without any light;
surely against me he turns his hand
    again and again the whole day long…Continue reading