Ezekiel 4 & Psalm 40-41

Ezekiel 4

    “And you, son of man, take a brick and lay it before you, and engrave on it a city, even Jerusalem. And put siegeworks against it, and build a siege wall against it, and cast up a mound against it. Set camps also against it, and plant battering rams against it all around. And you, take an iron griddle, and place it as an iron wall between you and the city; and set your face toward it, and let it be in a state of siege, and press the siege against it. This is a sign for the house of Israel.

    “Then lie on your left side, and place the punishment of the house of Israel upon it. For the number of the days that you lie on it, you shall bear their punishment. For I assign to you a number of days, 390 days, equal to the number of the years of their punishment. So long shall you bear the punishment of the house of Israel. And when you have completed these, you shall lie down a second time, but on your right side, and bear the punishment of the house of Judah. Forty days I assign you, a day for each year. And you shall set your face toward the siege of Jerusalem, with your arm bared, and you shall prophesy against the city. And behold, I will place cords upon you, so that you cannot turn from one side to the other, till you have completed the days of your siege.

    “And you, take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and emmer, and put them into a single vessel and make your bread from them. During the number of days that you lie on your side, 390 days, you shall eat it. And your food that you eat shall be by weight, twenty shekels a day; from day to day you shall eat it. And water you shall drink by measure, the sixth part of a hin; from day to day you shall drink. And you shall eat it as a barley cake, baking it in their sight on human dung.” And the LORD said, “Thus shall the people of Israel eat their bread unclean, among the nations where I will drive them.” Then I said, “Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, I have never defiled myself. From my youth up till now I have never eaten what died of itself or was torn by beasts, nor has tainted meat come into my mouth.” Then he said to me, “See, I assign to you cow's dung instead of human dung, on which you may prepare your bread.” Moreover, he said to me, “Son of man, behold, I will break the supply of bread in Jerusalem. They shall eat bread by weight and with anxiety, and they shall drink water by measure and in dismay. 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.

(Ezekiel 4 ESV)


Psalm 40

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

    I waited patiently for the LORD;
        he inclined to me and heard my cry.
    He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
        out of the miry bog,
    and set my feet upon a rock,
        making my steps secure.
    He put a new song in my mouth,
        a song of praise to our God.
    Many will see and fear,
        and put their trust in the LORD.
    
    
    Blessed is the man who makes
        the LORD his trust,
    who does not turn to the proud,
        to those who go astray after a lie!
    You have multiplied, O LORD my God,
        your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;
        none can compare with you!
    I will proclaim and tell of them,
        yet they are more than can be told.
    
    
    In sacrifice and offering you have not delighted,
        but you have given me an open ear.
    Burnt offering and sin offering
        you have not required.
    Then I said, “Behold, I have come;
        in the scroll of the book it is written of me:
    I delight to do your will, O my God;
        your law is within my heart.”
    
    
    I have told the glad news of deliverance
        in the great congregation;
    behold, I have not restrained my lips,
        as you know, O LORD.
    I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart;
        I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;
    I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness
        from the great congregation.
    
    
    As for you, O LORD, you will not restrain
        your mercy from me;
    your steadfast love and your faithfulness will
        ever preserve me!
    For evils have encompassed me
        beyond number;
    my iniquities have overtaken me,
        and I cannot see;
    they are more than the hairs of my head;
        my heart fails me.
    
    
    Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me!
        O LORD, make haste to help me!
    Let those be put to shame and disappointed altogether
        who seek to snatch away my life;
    let those be turned back and brought to dishonor
        who delight in my hurt!
    Let those be appalled because of their shame
        who say to me, “Aha, Aha!”
    
    
    But may all who seek you
        rejoice and be glad in you;
    may those who love your salvation
        say continually, “Great is the LORD!”
    As for me, I am poor and needy,
        but the Lord takes thought for me.
    You are my help and my deliverer;
        do not delay, O my God!

(Psalm 40 ESV)


Psalm 41

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

    Blessed is the one who considers the poor!
        In the day of trouble the LORD delivers him;
    the LORD protects him and keeps him alive;
        he is called blessed in the land;
        you do not give him up to the will of his enemies.
    The LORD sustains him on his sickbed;
        in his illness you restore him to full health.
    
    
    As for me, I said, “O LORD, be gracious to me;
        heal me, for I have sinned against you!”
    My enemies say of me in malice,
        “When will he die, and his name perish?”
    And when one comes to see me, he utters empty words,
        while his heart gathers iniquity;
        when he goes out, he tells it abroad.
    All who hate me whisper together about me;
        they imagine the worst for me.
    
    
    They say, “A deadly thing is poured out on him;
        he will not rise again from where he lies.”
    Even my close friend in whom I trusted,
        who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.
    But you, O LORD, be gracious to me,
        and raise me up, that I may repay them!
    
    
    By this I know that you delight in me:
        my enemy will not shout in triumph over me.
    But you have upheld me because of my integrity,
        and set me in your presence forever.
    
    
    Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel,
        from everlasting to everlasting!
     Amen and Amen.

(Psalm 41 ESV)

Duty to Delight

In sacrifice and offering you have not delighted, but you have given me an open ear. Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required. Then I said, “Behold, I have come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me: I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.” (Psalm 40:6-8)

 

Waiting for God does not imply sitting around until God does something miraculous in your life. Waiting for God implies an eagerness and intense focus on Him that leads you to continue in service to Him and others until He then decides to demonstrate His power and presence in your life. It is this kind of waiting for our Lord that transforms us from the inside out. God begins to put a new song of praise in our mouth and a new perspective on obedience in our heart.

Do we obey our Lord out of duty and a felt obligation to Him or out of a deep sense of joy and delight for who He is and who He has made us to be?

Although living many generations before Christ’s atonement for our sin upon the cross, David seems to know deep in his heart that God is more pleased in David’s offering of himself than He is in his offering of obligatory sacrifices. To use a popular terminology, David seems to know that God delights in his sincere relational affection more than He does his strict religious adherence. May David’s willingness to be a living sacrifice for God motivate us to do the same, and may the Greater David’s willingness to be a dying sacrifice for us captivate us to the point of pure delight in doing and proclaiming the will of our Lord.