Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Your Wild-Eyed Prophet of the Day

It's no secret that some of the Old Testament prophets have a bit of that crazy in them. The mere fact that you'd stand up to kings and nobles and proclaim their coming doom requires a certain amount of unnerving certainty. Nevertheless, certain prophet give off the crazy vibe much more than other prophets. For example, Elijah performs miracles and signs of wonder and dukes it out the Ahab (one of the best scenes in the Bible) yet seems sane. He is man fulfilling God's strange call. Isaiah, to some degree, fits that same category. Sure, he has visions, but his calling to repentance and justice rings true to this day.

On the hand, we have Ezekiel. Like any decent prophet Ezekiel had visions, but he was also called by God to act out God's words, like some ancient performance art (from Ezekiel 12):
"Therefore, son of man, pack your belongings for exile and in the daytime, as they watch, set out and go from where you are to another place. Perhaps they will understand, though they are a rebellious house. During the daytime, while they watch, bring out your belongings packed for exile. Then in the evening, while they are watching, go out like those who go into exile. While they watch, dig through the wall and take your belongings out through it. Put them on your shoulder as they are watching and carry them out at dusk. Cover your face so that you cannot see the land, for I have made you a sign to the house of Israel."
So I did as I was commanded. During the day I brought out my things packed for exile. Then in the evening I dug through the wall with my hands. I took my belongings out at dusk, carrying them on my shoulders while they watched.
It's a reminder that God's call is not necessarily a sane call, or a proper call, or a call to tell your grandma about over a cup of tea.

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