Hi folks. Thanks for coming back to my blogging through a reread of Ezekiel.
If you ever watched “Caddyshack” – the movie- you will remember how reverently the Judge fell back to using his “Old Bullabaloo” when pushed to extremes to win the final hole of the golf match. Funny how people can be so superstitious about a familiar old ace-up-my-sleeve last resort. I hear baseball pitchers are the same way when the pressure is on.
That’s sort of what Ezekiel chapter 6 is about in many ways. Now I have to say that this chapter is handled very strangely by all the commentators. One of the commentaries said this about Ezekiel chapter 6(the whole chapter): “Ezekiel prophecizes against the mountains of Israel.”
Yep. That was it. Others go into a bewildering explanation of all the editorial content that might have been added by other writers. One did bring up that much of the imagery of these two chapters was made to be so explicit because it was directly traceable back to a prophecy of Moses found in Leviticus 26:30-33. Of all of this, I find the Leviticus reference helpful because it emphasizes the message to Ezekiel that he is still on a similar path as Moses was, that there is a correlation between Moses and Ezekiel’s work as I’ve explored in earlier posts of this blog. In other words, the original vision that Ezekiel had, his vision of calling, continues to prove true.
As for me, I am always interested in the imagery and the poetry. There is a reason – usually – why things are expressed in certain ways in scripture. Scripture, after all, comes from the interaction of the Divine, of God, with the human soul. It therefore stands to reason that soulful imagery is designed to engage other souls. Chapter 6 is no different in that the images presented are horrifying to the reader as the reader finds his soul wanting to shy away from that content.
So what do we have here in Chapter 6? Places of sacrificial worship found on the high places of Israel, alters to foreign gods present under trees, on the mountain tops, and even in proximity to the Temple, all being thrown together as a field of dead carcasses. And to boot, all the people of Israel – those that place any kind of stock in such practices will have their bones scattered round about these fallen idols. This judgment will fall on the mountains, hills, rivers, and valleys. By this we know that all stratus levels of society in Jerusalem will be affected, mainly because all stratus levels of Israel were engaged somehow in this practice of piety to foreign idols of stone. Pretty heavy stuff I know.
So in the first place, we have a fulfillment of what God predicted way, way back at the beginning of the actual nation/state of Israel/Judah. So we see completion. Dreadful as it is, it is important to know that God remembers what he says.
More importantly to me, is the concept of dead and drying bones scattered around the dead bodies of the Idols themselves. The idols have been knocked over showing that they really have no ability to stand for long. And, like the judge character in Caddyshack, the people have flocked to their superstitious standby – their old bullabaloo in times of impending disaster. But God is showing us through the visions of these prophets that there is NO Life to be found there – only death. There is no way through that barren portal.
The only assurance here is that the trinity of plagues mentioned will come about upon the population. They will be purged by the sword (war and violence) even when they scatter, disease, and famine/starvation. When viewed through human lenses, this can be restated as
- destruction caused directly by other people
- destruction caused by the neglect and uncaring position of other people
- destruction caused by lack of mercy, compassion, teamwork, and sharing among their own people.
Hmmmm we seem to have these same plagues still upon us today, don’t you think.
I find myself asking myself, what are my high places, things of import that I have constructed that take God’s place? Do I create ritual in place of faith? Do I have a fallback last resort “old bullabaloo” putter that I only whip out in a crunch?
Perhaps it would be better to look to where there is life, to where the story of faith takes us rather than end up as a heap of dry bones scattered around the base of some forgotten idol of fixation.