Ezekiel 3

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

3 He said, ‘Son of man, I am giving you this scroll. Eat it all and fill your stomach with it.’ So I ate it. It had a sweet taste like honey in my mouth.

4 Then he said to me, ‘Son of man, now go to Israel's people and speak my words to them. 5 I am not sending you to a people whose words you cannot understand. They do not speak a difficult language. No, I am sending you to Israel's people. 6 I am not sending you to people who speak many different languages that you cannot understand. If I did send you to people like that, I am sure that they would listen to you. 7 But Israel's people will not agree to listen to you. That is because they refuse to listen to me. All the Israelites have decided not to obey me, and they will not change. 8 But I will make you as strong in your mind as they are. You will not change what you think. 9 You will be as strong as the strongest stone that nobody can break. Do not be afraid of them. Do not be afraid of how they look at you. Remember that they are people who refuse to obey me.’

10 Then he said to me, ‘Son of man, listen carefully to all the words that I say to you. Remember them. 11 Now you must go to the Israelites who are prisoners in Babylon. They are your own people. Give my message to them and say, “This is what the Almighty Lord says.” They may listen to you or they may refuse to listen. But you must still give them my message.’

12 Then a spirit lifted me up. I heard a loud noise like thunder behind me. It was the sound of the Lord's great glory as it rose up from its place! 13 I heard the sound of the living things' wings as they touched each other. I also heard the loud noise of the wheels that were at the side of the living things. It was like the noise of thunder. 14 Then a spirit lifted me up and he took me away. I was angry and upset in my mind. But the Lord gave me great power and strength. 15 I came to Tel Abib near the Kedar river, where the Israelite prisoners lived. I stayed with them for seven days. I was very upset as I sat among them.

3:12‘a spirit’ or ‘a wind’. Also in verse 14.

Ezekiel must warn the Lord's people

16 When the seven days were finished, the Lord gave this message to me:

17 ‘Son of man, I have made you a guard to warn Israel's people about danger. You must listen to the messages that I will give to you. Then you must use my messages to warn the Israelites. 18 I may say to a wicked person, “Your punishment will be death.” Then you must warn that person. You must tell him to stop doing wicked things so that he may save his life. If you do not tell the wicked person this, he will die because of his sins. But I will say that you are guilty, as if you had killed him yourself. 19 So you must warn the wicked person. If you warn him, he still may not stop doing wicked things. Then that wicked person will die because of his sins. But you will have saved your own life.

20 A righteous person may stop doing things that are right. He may start to do bad things. Then I will put him in danger. He will die as punishment for his sins. I will not remember the good things that he did. But if you have not warned him of the danger, I will say that you are guilty. It is as if you killed him yourself. 21 But if you do warn that righteous person to stop doing bad things, he may agree. Then he will continue to live, because you warned him. You also will have saved your own life.’

22 The Lord continued to give me strength. He said to me, ‘Stand up now! Go out into the valley and I will speak to you there.’ 23 So I got up and I went out to the valley. I saw the glory of the Lord in that place. It was like the glory that I had seen beside the Kebar river. I bent down low, with my face to the ground.

24 Then a spirit came into me. He lifted me up and he made me stand on my feet. The Lord said to me, ‘Go into your house and shut the door. 25 Son of man, people will tie you with ropes so that you cannot move. You will not be able to go out among the people. 26 I will also stop your tongue from moving so that you cannot speak. You will not be able to warn the Israelites. They are people who refuse to obey me. 27 But sometimes I will speak to you. Then you will be able to open your mouth and give them my message. You must tell them, “This is what the Almighty Lord says.” Some of them will listen to my message. But other people will refuse to listen. They are a nation of people who refuse to obey me.’

3:27God made Ezekiel dumb for 7 years. That time continued until the people of Babylon destroyed Jerusalem. But during that time, Ezekiel had to speak many messages from God.