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Spoiled Meat | Inconsolable Circumstances, Ezekiel 24

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Idea for the Bible teacher or discussion leader: As a visual aid you could put some bad meat in a rusty iron pot and boil it. Show your class the remains of the meat with the rusty crud covering them. Ask your class if any of them have had experiences with meat poisoning. In today's lesson a rusty pot of spoiled meat is used to illustrate the remnants in Israel during the last year of King Zedekiah's reign.

Review. In Babylon the prophet Ezekiel shares heavenly visions, performs many signs, object lessons and dramatizations to get the attention of the Jewish exiles so that they might wake up to reality and repent, but to no avail.

Since delivering Israel out of slavery in Egypt, God had expended nearly a thousand years trying to get her to repent from idolatry and evil behavior, but she would not. In Ezekiel 23 God presented a parable of two adulterous sisters, Oholah and Oholibah, which represented the capital cities of Samaria and Jerusalem. Both sister nations of Israel were like prostitutes with their political alliances and idolatries. For their lewd behavior, Ezekiel prophesied that they would be stoned or destroyed by Babylon, their children exiled, and their city burned.

In Ezekiel 24 what two illustrations does God use to get the attention of the Jewish exiles in Babylon? Read Ezekiel 24

Answer 1


When does this prophecy take place and what is the significance? Ezekiel 24:1-2

Answer 2


A parable was given as a prophecy. What was it, to whom was it given, and why? Ezekiel 24:3-14

Answer 3


Now let us look at the details of this parable. What things were put into the pot, what is significant about them, and what was to be done with them? Ezekiel 24:3-5

Answer 4


This parable has reference to Ezekiel 11:1-12. To whom do the choice and best pieces probably refer?

Answer 5


Ezekiel 24:6-8 is the interpretation of the parable. What is the significance of the bones being taken out of the pot after an attempt was made to cook them? Also refer back to Ezekiel 11:6-12 once again to help you.

Answer 6


Ezekiel 24:9-14 is the judgment upon the city of Jerusalem (the rusty encrusted pot) What happens to the pot and the rest of its contents (people in Jerusalem)? Why?

Answer 7


Re-read Ezekiel 24:15-27. What is the second illustration about in this text?

Answer 8


Ezekiel was told to do many strange things as a prophet but probably none greater than to experience the death of his wife. How is she described? Ezekiel 24:15-18. What is the strange thing that God forbids Ezekiel to do after the death of his wife? The prophet Jeremiah did not lose his wife but was asked to do the same thing in Jerusalem with similar rituals he was not able to observe (Jeremiah 16:5-7).

Answer 9


Of course, for a prophet who dearly loved his wife not to grieve was baffling for the Israelite exiles in Babylon. Since he was a prophet, they wondered what these things meant for them. What explanation does God give through Ezekiel to the exiles? Ezekiel 24:19-26

Answer 10


What were the exiles to learn from this tremendous loss they all felt? Ezekiel 24:24-27

Answer 11


Lessons to Live by: (ask for members' input first)

Today's Bible memory verse:

2Peter 3:9 "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance," (NIV)

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A1: The parable of the cooking pot and the death of Ezekiel's wife

A2: Eze 24:1-2 records this prophecy was in the ninth year [of King Zedekiah's reign], in the tenth month on the tenth day. This was a little over two years later than his last prophecy (Ezekiel 20:1). It was this day the king of Babylon laid a two year siege on Jerusalem. The year was 588 B.C. because Jerusalem was conquered in 586 B.C.

A3: The parable was to that of a cooking pot on a cooking fire. It was given to the rebellious house (of Israel) exile in Babylon. It was given to illustrate the frustrated attempts of God to cleanse the impurities of the Israelites still in Jerusalem so that he would not have to judge them.

A4: What is significant about what is put into the pot of water is that the choice pieces and the best of the bones are put into the pot. Then they were brought to a boil and cooked.

A5: The choice and best pieces probably refer to the leaders of the people in Jerusalem.

A6: An attempt was made to cook them to purify them, but they were spoiled by the rust in the pot (the bloodshed in the city of Jerusalem), therefore, the leaders of the people who thought they were protected by the iron pot (Jerusalem) were taken out of the pot, i.e., exiled from Jerusalem and slain. This is a picture of what would happen to them when Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, would invade the city after his two year siege.

A7: The rust encrusted pot would be empty and the meat (the Israelites left in Jerusalem) would be cooked and charred, i.e., the city would be empty and its people destroyed when Babylon would invade the city. The reason for this judgment is their lewdness, i.e., their idolatry and sexual perversions, besides their blood-guiltiness mentioned earlier.

If God were to look at our lives, would we be guilty of unrepentant sin? God judges the sinner and disciplines his children, but he is merciful and gracious to forgive us our sins if we turn from them to Him (more...). If you have seen others suffer for their sins, but you have not yet been judged or disciplined, learn from what you see; don't wait.

A8: Ezekiel 24:15-27 records the death of Ezekiel's wife, symbolizing the death of the people left in Jerusalem and the destruction of its tabernacle when Nebuchadnezzar invades the city.

A9: Ezekiel loved his wife. She was called the delight of his eyes. Strangely, however, Ezekiel was not allowed to grieve the loss of his wife. Apparently, there were customs observed during the grieving process, such as having a meal for family and friends, and yet Ezekiel was not allow to grieve in any way. That seems so unfair, but we have to remember that God's plan had a purpose.

A10: God was about to destroy their sanctuary. In particular this probably means that He would have their beloved temple destroyed, but it also may refer to their place of refuge, the city of Jerusalem. In addition, they would lose their beloved relatives within it. Nevertheless, they would not have any chance to mourn over their losses. We are not sure why, but perhaps they would all be in shock. They had to groan inwardly and weep silently and waste away, without any loud crying or comfort.

A11: The exiles were to learn that God is Sovereign. They had been thinking that they could continue in their idolatry and wickedness and would soon return to the land and even take their precious temple artifacts with them, even though God said no. Now they would learn that God is king and in control of their lives. If they wanted his favor and to return to Jerusalem, they would need to repent and submit under his rule. They would first need to be broken in their sin. The loss of the temple, the city and their relatives broke them.


Lessons to Live by:

  • Observe your culture. Is it like spoiled meat, encrusted in its sin? Is it full of violence and idolatry and sexual perversion? Do not get into that pot; it will lead to God's judgment or discipline. Get out of it and go to God for his mercy and favor.
  • What will it take to break you if you are resisting God? Learn from bad experiences.
  • Who controls your life - you or God? If you want his favor, you need to repent and submit under his rule. The good news is that He is a good and kind God who offers forgiveness, peace, spiritual life and blessings to everyone who is broken over his sins and turns from them to Him (more...)

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