Ezekiel 2:1-3:15

God chooses Ezekiel to be his messenger

1 ‘Son of man, you must stand up on your feet,’ the Lord said to me. ‘Then I will speak to you.’ 2 His Spirit came into me while he spoke. He made me stand up and I heard him speak to me.

3 ‘Son of man,’ he said. ‘I am sending you to Israel's people. They are people who have not obeyed me. Their nation has turned away from me. They and their fathers have never obeyed my rules. 4 I am sending you to a people who do not listen to me. They think that their ideas are better than mine. This is what you must say to them. “This is what the great, powerful Lord says.”

5 They may listen or they may not listen. They do not want to obey me. But they will know that I have sent a prophet to them. 6 You, son of man, must not be afraid of them or their words. You may feel like you have sharp branches all round you. You may think that they can bite you like animals. But they cannot hurt you. Do not be afraid of what they say. They are all against me. 7 You must speak my words to them, whether they will listen or not. They are a people that do not obey me. 8 But you, son of man, must listen to what I say to you. Do not turn against me, like those bad people. Open your mouth. And eat what I give you.’

9 Then I looked and I saw a hand. It held a very long piece of skin. Someone had written words on the skin. The hand offered it to me. 10 When the hand opened the skin, I saw words on both sides of the skin. I read them. They were not happy words, but were very sad.

2:9In those days, people wrote books on skins of animals. Usually they would only write on one side of the skins. But here there were words on both sides of this skin.

Ezekiel 3

1 ‘Son of man, eat what is in front of you,’ he said to me. ‘Eat this skin with words on it. Then go and speak to the Israelites.’ 2 Then I opened my mouth and he gave me the skin to eat.

3 ‘Son of man, eat this and fill your stomach with it,’ he said. So I ate it, and it was very sweet in my mouth.

4 Then he said to me, ‘Now go, son of man. Speak my words to Israel's people. 5 I am sending you to them. I do not send you to a people whose words you cannot understand. 6 And I do not send you to people who speak a foreign language. I could have sent you to those people. And I am sure that they would have listened to you. 7 But Israel's people will not listen to you. That is because they will not listen to me. They have all decided not to obey me, and they will not change. 8 But I will make you as strong as they are. You will not stop obeying me. 9 You will be strong and you will not change. They may refuse to do as I say. But you must not be afraid of them, even when they do.’

10 And he said to me, ‘Son of man, listen carefully to all that I say. Remember the words that I speak to you. 11 Now you must go to Babylon. Speak to Israel's people who are there. Say this, “This is what the Lord God says.” They may listen or they may refuse to listen.’

12 Then the Spirit lifted me up. I heard a loud noise and a voice spoke. ‘Praise the glory of the Lord in his home above,’ it said. 13 I heard the sound of the living things' wings. Their wings were hitting each other. And the wheels made a noise like the sound of the earth when it moves about. 14 Then the Spirit lifted me up and he took me away. He carried me with great power. I felt angry and hurt in my mind. 15 I came to Tel Abib near the river Kedar. The people who had come from Israel lived there. I stayed there with them for seven days. I was very tired and confused.