As if the inevitable judgment of Israel was not bad enough, God gives Ezekiel a correcting word to speak to those individuals claiming the Israelites will die in the city in which they live. “The city is the cauldron and we are the meat,” was the message of the false counselors. God corrects them with “That would be too honorable; you will die at the borders by the sword.” As Ezekiel speaks this word, one of the princes of Israel drops dead before his eyes. The dung Ezekiel was cooking with, is beginning to hit the fan.
But before it does God offers one last bit of encouragement for the future. After the people are scattered, God promises to gather the Israelites back. When they return, they will return humbled removing the evil they had once engaged in because they will have a united new heart. The ones desiring to return to God and to the land will have a soft heart, a heart willing to obey.
Ezekiel returns to his vision of the cherubim creatures with their wheels rising from the city and heading to the mountain. It leads him to the land of Chaldea where he relays the message of hope to the exiled Israelites.
Scattering creates an interesting opportunity that God uses for growth and life. It’s a little bit of a different process than planting or taking root. Sometimes we allow our hearts to be pulled, broken, even shattered, and in order for God to put us back together as individuals capable of loving, He may employ what seems like an arbitrary throwing of the seed.
I have often felt like I have been haphazardly launched in directions I was not expecting and did not necessarily want to go. It hurt when I hit the ground wondering how to grow or start a new from where I landed. I felt vulnerable, ungrounded, weak, confused at times, out of my element. The nature of a scattered seed, really any seed is that it dies to grow. It endures through a process so that it might live anew.
I wish I would embrace this process. I wish the loss of life and breath in certain things wouldn’t prevent me from finding life and breath in others by enjoying the constant stream of love and life God freely gives. I want to trust that I am becoming better and more nourishing than I was. After the scattering, I want to embrace the taking root and develop strong interconnected roots so as to be immovable. I want to be a tree that grows and has etchings on its bark, marked by the love of Jesus and others. I want to live and die and live again in the city of God. Because it’s better than being meat in a cauldron.