God will REWARD those who are not DEFILED by this WORLD
August 27 Bible Reading: Ezekiel Chapters 4-6
So I (Ezekiel) said, "Ah, Lord God! Indeed I have never defiled myself from my youth till now; I have never eaten what died of itself or was torn by beasts, nor has abominable flesh ever come into my mouth." (Ezek. 4:14)
Ezekiel began his public ministry in Babylon with four action sermons that declared God’s judgment against Jerusalem. It was his third action sermon (vv. 9-17) that emphasized the severity of the siege of Jerusalem by showing a graphic image of siege, discomfort, hunger, and defilement—all resulting from Judah’s sin and departure from God.
In order to lay the framework to his sermon, Jehovah God told Ezekiel to take a mixture of wheat, barley, beans, lentils, millet, and spelt (a different brand of wheat used for livestock feed and as grain for human consumption) and to crush them together to make bread. During normal times, each of these foods was available in abundance. However, during the upcoming siege, supplies would be so scarce that several grains would have to be combined in order to provide enough dough to prepare a meal! So, one of the purposes of Jeremiah in eating and drinking these meager rations was to display to the outside world how the city of Jerusalem will face scarcity of food and water during the siege (4:16–17).
Another purpose of this action sermon was to show the pollution and defilement that the residents of Jerusalem would experience during the siege. The use of dried animal manure as a fuel was a common practice in the Near East. Ezekiel, as a priest and a prophet of God, had been accustomed to the strictest abstinence from everything that was impure (Deut. 12:15–19; 14:3–21; 23:12–14). So, it was simply unthinkable for Ezekiel to use human excrement as fuel to bake the bread that he was to eat (v. 12, 14). God accommodated Ezekiel by allowing the use of animal manure (v. 15), but God had made His point concerning the severity of the famine that would prevail during the siege of Jerusalem, which in turn symbolized the dispersion of the Jews among the Gentiles.
The spiritual application for us comes from the bold declaration of Ezekiel to God that he had never defiled himself from his youth until that time, by eating the flesh of dead animals or, those that was killed by wild beasts or, any kind of impure flesh that was in conflict with the Levitical law. It is not surprising that God chose this priest to be His prophet as His mouthpiece to His people (1:3). Similar to this is the case of Daniel who made a crucial decision very early in his life while he was a captive in Babylon: "But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank" (Dan. 1:8). This may be one of the reasons that God chose Daniel as His prophet and lifted him up to a great position of authority and influence.
In the New Testament, there is a similar declaration by Apostle Peter, whom the Lord Jesus had chosen to be a leader of the church after it was born on the Day of Pentecost (John 21:15-17). When God gave Peter a vision in which he was asked to rise up, kill and eat impure meat, this is what Peter declared: "Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean" (Acts 10:14). Even though Peter was a common fisherman, it is clear that he did not defile himself according to the strict Levitical standards set by God for His people. This may have been one of the many reasons that the Lord Jesus Christ chose Peter to represent Him before the world as the Chief Apostle and the leader of the New Testament Church.