Ezekiel continues to use his vivid imagination today in his attempt to get the exiles’ attention. Surely they’ll listen to his visions of prostitutes and lions and fires. So far, however, it appears that Project Allegory is not meeting with great success. In fact, at the conclusion of today’s reading, Ezekiel expresses his dejectedness with God, convinced that the people have dismissed him as a teller of tall tales.
He’ll press on in the pages ahead, as we will see. For today, let’s take a look at what happens in chapter 20. Israel’s leaders have come to Ezekiel, hoping to get a plan of action that God will reveal to him. What they get in response is a history lesson. At God’s cue, Ezekiel takes them all the way back to Egypt to begin the lesson. He then walks them through all the years of Israel’s stubbornness and resistance to God’s direction, and all the times that God kept giving them second chances.
While not coming in quite the form they were expecting, the leaders actually get what they were asking for. The way forward depends on how they respond to the God of second chances, who has been with them ever since they left Egypt. The best plan of action is to recommit to the covenant, which will lead to the day when all Israel will be free and join God on the mountain.
Sometimes, the way we figure out what to do next is by learning from the past.