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.

The Lord tells Ezekiel that he will become a watchman

16 When the seven days were finished, the Lord spoke to me. 17 ‘Son of man, I have made you a watchman for Israel's people. So listen to what I say. They may not obey me. Then tell them what will happen. 18 I may say to a bad man, “I am going to make you die.” You must tell him this. Or you must say that he must stop doing wrong things. Then he will save his life. If you do not tell him this, he will die. He will die because of the bad things that he has done. But I will punish you, because you did not give him my message. 19 You must tell him what I have promised. But he may not listen. Then he will die because he has not obeyed me. But you will have saved yourself.

20 A very good man may start to do bad things and I can make his life difficult. But he will die if you do not tell him about his sin. He will die because of his sins. I will not remember the good things that he did. But you did not tell him what I would do. Then I will punish you. 21 If you give him my message, he may stop sinning. Then he will stay alive. He will not die, because he stopped doing wrong things. And you will not die.’

22 The Lord was very near to me. ‘Go into the flat land and I will speak to you there,’ he said. 23 So I got up and I went out to the flat land. And I saw the glory of the Lord there. It was like the glory that I had seen by the River Kebar. I fell down with my face to the ground. 24 Then the Spirit lifted me up and he made me stand up. ‘Go into your house and shut the door,’ he said.

25 ‘I will stop you from moving. You will be like a man that men have tied up. You will not be able to go out among the people. 26 I will stop your tongue from moving so that you cannot speak. You will not be able to tell my people that they have not obeyed me. But they have done wrong things. 27 I will speak to you again. Then you will be able to give them my message. “This is what the Lord God says”, you will say. Some of my people will listen to my words, but some people will refuse to listen. They are people who will not obey me.’

3:27God made Ezekiel dumb for 7 years. That period continued until the people of Babylon destroyed Jerusalem. But during that period, Ezekiel had to speak many messages from God. He would remain in his home except as God led him.