In the twelfth year of our exile, on the fifth day of the tenth month, a survivor from Jerusalem came to me and said, "The city's fallen."
The evening before the survivor arrived, the hand of God had been on me and restored my speech. By the time he arrived in the morning I was able to speak. I could talk again.
God's Message came to me:
"Son of man, those who are living in the ruins back in Israel are saying, 'Abraham was only one man and he owned the whole country. But there are lots of us. Our ownership is even more certain.'
"So tell them, 'God the Master says, You eat flesh that contains blood, you worship no-god idols, you murder at will - and you expect to own this land?
You rely on the sword, you engage in obscenities, you indulge in sex at random - anyone, anytime. And you still expect to own this land?'
"Tell them this, Ezekiel: 'The Message of God, the Master. As sure as I am the living God, those who are still alive in the ruins will be killed. Anyone out in the field I'll give to wild animals for food. Anyone hiding out in mountain forts and caves will die of disease.
I'll make this country an empty wasteland - no more arrogant bullying! Israel's mountains will become dangerously desolate. No one will dare pass through them.'
"They'll realize that I am God when I devastate the country because of all the obscenities they've practiced.
"As for you, son of man, you've become quite the talk of the town. Your people meet on street corners and in front of their houses and say, 'Let's go hear the latest news from God.'
They show up, as people tend to do, and sit in your company. They listen to you speak, but don't do a thing you say. They flatter you with compliments, but all they care about is making money and getting ahead.
To them you're merely entertainment - a country singer of sad love songs, playing a guitar. They love to hear you talk, but nothing comes of it.
"But when all this happens - and it is going to happen! - they'll realize that a prophet was among them."
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)