Ezekiel had been preaching a message that was not well received and was likely making him less than popular among his neighbours. But at least he had a home and a wife he loved deeply. Until God used the death of his wife as an object lesson to the Jews.
What could be worth that? Jeremiah was called to bachelorhood, Hosea was told to marry an unfaithful woman - but Ezekiel married a woman he loved, and his ministry required that he lose her suddenly. Why?
Rayburn says: there are greater, higher interests than those of our lives in this world, our personal happiness and fulfillment in life. The judgment of the nation, the rupture of the covenant, the destruction of Jerusalem, the razing of the temple of the Lord, the death of thousands and the exile of thousands more, the purification of the people of God; all of these are of much greater consequence and moment...... there are more important things than even the solemnities of mourning a loved one. A wife can be taken from a loving husband as a sign only if that which her death signifies is something so consequential, so important, so needing to be understood that even a great love lost is a price worth paying to make people take heed.
There is always purpose in our suffering, but so often we don't know what that purpose is, at least not at the time. But Ezekiel knew. Knowing it likely didn't make it any easier for him to bear personally, but he counted the cost of following God faithfully, and he chose to pay the price.
Are we willing to do the same?
Our NT passage reminds us that it is by our love that the world will recognize our faith. Do we love in such a noticeable way?
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Ezekiel 27-29; John 14