Over and over again in the Old Testament, we see the Lord warning His people. Though they were chosen and set apart by Him to be a living representation of His goodness, they habitually fell into sin and wickedness. This was especially true in the time of the prophet Ezekiel. Despite knowing right from wrong, the Jews in his day were partaking in paganism and idolatry that involved such gross practices as prostitution, child sacrifice, and other rituals. Seeing their blatant disregard for His ways, God could have punished them then and there. However, He chose to send a messenger to preach repentance instead. So patient and merciful was He that He brought warning after warning through the words and actions of Ezekiel. At one point, He instructed the faithful prophet to lie on his left side for 390 days and on his right side for 40 days. He was told to eat disgusting bread, drink rationed water, and use cow dung for fuel. He also had to shave his beard and head and use the hair in a sort of prophetic theater. These strange and unorthodox actions were carried out as a desperate attempt to arrest the hearts and minds of the Jews in order to persuade them to come back to God. Because the Lord loved them so much, He wanted to spare them the pain of being captured and exiled so they could return to fellowship with Him. Though He had no obligation to be so long-suffering, He poured out mercy time and again in the form of wise warnings. And since He is the same yesterday, today, and forever, He still gives us divinely-inspired admonitions to shield us from harm, protect our lives, and empower us to flourish in faith.
My friend, your Savior is full of patience and mercy. He adores you, and He wants the very best for your life. Knowing this, it’s wise to heed His warnings. He has given you a map called Scripture and a compass called the Holy Spirit to guide you safely away from destructive tendencies and temptations. When He speaks to your heart, you do best to listen to His voice and follow His loving lead out of the pit of potential snares. He is for you — not against you — and everything He asks you to surrender is for your benefit, because it will ultimately lead you to something much better!