Ezekiel 3:15
I came to the exiles at Tel-abib who dwelt by the River Kebar. And for seven days I sat where they sat and remained there among them, overwhelmed.
In the Uplifted Life We are Fitted to Do the Lord's WorkA. W. Welch.Ezekiel 3:14-15
ResponsibilityJ.D. Davies Ezekiel 3:15-21

It is a serious thing to be responsible for our own conduct; it is (if possible) yet more serious to have responsibility for others. The two things are inseparably intertwined.

I. RESPONSIBILITY SPRINGS FROM NATURAL RELATIONSHIP. Relationships are of all kinds - near and remote. No man is completely detached from others. His life penetrates other lives. A father is responsible for his children. Brothers are responsible for sisters, and vice versa, it was not until the demon of murderous hate had strangled the natural instinct of brotherhood, that the sullen miscreant asked, "Am I my brother's keeper?

II. RESPONSIBILITY SPRINGS FROM OFFICIAL POSITION. The eternal God had exalted Ezekiel to a position of honour in his kingdom; and high rank is another name for high responsibility. To make this clear to his servant, God employed comparison, analogy, forcible illustration. On the city watchman hung the fate of the city - the lives of fellow citizens. He was exempted from other duties that he might the better discharge this. For many reasons, some manifest, some hidden, God appoints men, not angels, to be the exponents of his will to men. Faithful service will be richly rewarded; the loss of such rewards is a heavy penalty. But responsibility, if abused, bears a prolific harvest of disasters.

III. RESPONSIBILITY SPRINGS FROM SUPERIOR KNOWLEDGE. If knowledge is power, knowledge is responsibility also. The light of wisdom or of science is entrusted to us that it may be diffused. In proportion to the practical value of the knowledge is the responsible duty to propagate it. Hence the special insight into man's fallen state, the subtlety of temptation, and the overwhelming results of impenitence - in brief, the special knowledge of God's intention with respect to guilty men - this entails on every prophet and preacher an imponderable responsibility to be faithful. Men might have been saved had they known both the generous and the judicial purposes of God; we knew and might have instructed them.

IV. RESPONSIBILITY SPRINGS FROM POSSIBLE INFLUENCE. To the utmost extent that we can touch the springs of motive and of action in our fellow men are we responsible for them. Our responsibility does not begin and end with the message we deliver. We are to warn men. This mystic influence we possess over others is reflected from every smile and tone and feature. Hence temper, motive, fervour, earnestness, are elements of our power. We warn others by our own abstinence from sin, by our self-denials, our heavenly-mindedness, our fruitful goodness, our pious walk and converse. Responsibility ends only when we have exhausted every method to draw men heavenward.

V. RESPONSIBILITY SPRINGS FROM THE KNOWN RESULTS OF NEGLECTED TRUST. The God who has placed his servants in responsible positions has deigned to inform them what shall be the effects of neglect and cowardice. To the unwarned wicked the effect shall be destruction: "They shall surely die." To the unfaithful watchman the effect shall be dishonour and loss: "The blood of the unwarned shall be required at his hand." The wicked might have died, though warned; but he might have repented and lived. A diseased man may die, although the remedy be applied; but if the known remedy be withheld, the blame of that death will fall on the slothful attendant. God has not seen it to be wise or fitting to make provision against unfaithfulness in his prophets. If they fail in the discharge of their momentous functions, no other agency will supply the room. The impenitent (who have no claim on God for any remedial measures) will, in such a case, die in their iniquity. Forevery position of influence, or honour, or usefulness we hold, "we must give account of ourselves before God." - D.

So the Spirit lifted me up.
Ezekiel was now strengthened to do a very difficult work. He was to go and speak to a people who had no sympathy with him, — who would not listen to him, as the old classic prophetess Cassandra was doomed forever to speak the truth and never to be believed. If he had been commissioned to break up new ground amongst people whose language he did not understand, he would have deserved some pity. But the actual case was worse than such a hypothetical one. Jeremiah had preached in Jerusalem for thirty-five years without success, and now Ezekiel was assured that his own prophesying in Babylon would fail of its immediate purpose. To expect defeat is one of the surest ways of incurring it. On the contrary, to have an unswerving confidence in the prosperous issue of any cause is most likely to ensure it. To have, as the only visible result of your efforts, your words flung back in your face, like shot rebounding from the adamant, must result in depressing your energies and paralysing your power. Ezekiel is now called to this terrible kind of service; and if he is not to falter and slacken in the strenuousness of his effort, he must have special preparation for it. The Spirit lifts him up, and then the hand of the Lord is strong upon him; and thus his natural weakness and timidity are reinforced. A Mr. Davis has written of the beneficial effects of high altitudes in certain kinds of diseases, more particularly in pulmonary troubles, and has summarised those advantages as, "dryness of air and comparative freedom from microorganisms and atmospheric dust; profusion of sunlight; lowness of temperature, the heat of the sun being easily borne, while the violet rays of the spectrum act chemically on the blood, increasing the haemoglobin; diminished barometric pressure, facilitating chemical action in the blood and tissues, and favouring vaporisation of moist secretions in the lungs, while it aids pulmonary circulation and expansion; and the general stimulus of high levels, producing exhilaration and an increase of nutrition." Who would wish to live on low levels after reading that! Those who live in any low-lying places, such as the poor Swiss of the Valals, are languid and enfeebled. They can never be robust while they breathe the damp air, the miasma, the foggy, misty atmosphere. There are correspondences in the spiritual sphere to these literal facts. When Christians dwell in the marshy, malarial lowlands of doubt and unbelief, selfishness and worldliness, they are unequal to holy enterprise. To serve the Lord requires strength and vigour, and these qualities they lack. We can also see that by means of this lifting up Ezekiel was brought into sympathy with men. "Then I came to them of the captivity at Tel-abib, that dwelt by the river of Chebar, and I sat where they sat, and remained there astonished among them seven days." Many have complained of such a method of expressing interest, and ridiculed it as strange friendship. But the action is full of true, deep sympathy. Job "sat down among the ashes," a loathsome sufferer. Yet his friends sat with him, sharing in silence his sorrow and humiliation. Similarly Ezekiel does not appear to have spoken. Silence is often golden. Words would sometimes only bewilder or irritate or wound. It is in the uplifted life that we learn how to come near to people in their misery and degradation, — how to join ourselves in the truest sympathy with the masses in their sad weariness, their pain-stricken anxiety, their tempted, struggling, sinning condition. Observe that by being lifted up Ezekiel was brought into sympathy with God. "So the Spirit lifted me up, and took me away, and I went in bitterness, in the heat of my spirit." As you read these words you at first think they denote the very reverse of an advance towards the mind of God. What can bitterness of spirit signify? what but a spirit of rebellion against the will of God? But that is not the meaning. The prophet was now brought into deeper sympathy with the Divine will. He was, like Jeremiah, "filled with the indignation of the Lord." In Bible parlance, the Lord was angry with the people, and so now was he. The roll which was spread before him was written with "lamentations and mourning and woe." He was bidden to eat it. Surely a very bitter portion for him! But he says, "It was in my mouth as honey for sweetness" (chap. 3, ver. Ezekiel 3:3). Why did the bitter become sweet? Because he was already in perfect accord with the will of God. The will of God should, we know, be the law of a Christian's life. Henry Martyn remarked just before he reached Madras, "I am going upon a work exactly according to the mind of Christ." At the height of 200 feet above the earth, to the listener on tower or crag, the varying sounds from below, harmonies and discords alike, are blent into one musical note — F natural — pure, sweet, distinct. So when we are lifted up to the Mount of the Lord the dissonant, discordant, jarring notes of our self-will are brought into unison with the will of God; our imperfect, inharmonious natures are reduced into full and complete accord with the Divine purpose.

(A. W. Welch.)

Chebar, Tel-abib
Abib, Appalled, Astonied, Astonished, Astonishment, Aviv, Beside, Captivity, Causing, Chebar, Consternation, Dwell, Dwelling, Dwelt, Exiles, Full, Kebar, Midst, Overwhelmed, Prisoners, Removed, River, Sat, Seated, Seven, Tel, Telabib, Tel-abib, Tel-ahib, Wonder
1. Ezekiel eats the scroll
4. God encourages him
15. God shows him the rule of prophecy
22. God shuts and opens the prophet's mouth

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Ezekiel 3:15

     4260   rivers and streams
     4975   week

Cæsarius of Arles.
He was born in the district of Chalons-sur-Saone, A. D. 470. He seems to have been early awakened, by a pious education, to vital Christianity. When he was between seven and eight years old, it would often happen that he would give a portion of his clothes to the poor whom he met, and would say, when he came home, that he had been, constrained to do so. When yet a youth, he entered the celebrated convent on the island of Lerins, (Lerina,) in Provence, from which a spirit of deep and practical piety
Augustus Neander—Light in the Dark Places

Boniface, Apostle of the Germans.
BONIFACE, or Winfried, as they called him in Anglo-Saxon, born at Crediton in Devonshire, in 680, deserves to be honoured as the father of the German Church, although he was by no means the first who brought the seeds of the Gospel to Germany. Many had already laboured before him; but the efforts which had been made here and there did not suffice to secure the endurance of Christianity amongst the many perils to which it was exposed. Christianity needs to be linked with firm ecclesiastical institutions,
Augustus Neander—Light in the Dark Places

Epistle xxxiv. To Venantius, Ex-Monk, Patrician of Syracuse .
To Venantius, Ex-Monk, Patrician of Syracuse [1331] . Gregory to Venantius, &c. Many foolish men have supposed that, if I were advanced to the rank of the episcopate, I should decline to address thee, or to keep up communication with thee by letter. But this is not so; since I am compelled by the very necessity of my position not to hold my peace. For it is written, Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet (Isai. lviii. 1). And again it is written, I have given thee for a watchman
Saint Gregory the Great—the Epistles of Saint Gregory the Great

The Greatness of the Soul,
AND UNSPEAKABLENESS 0F THE LOSS THEREOF; WITH THE CAUSES OF THE LOSING IT. FIRST PREACHED AT PINNER'S HALL and now ENLARGED AND PUBLISHED FOR GOOD. By JOHN BUNYAN, London: Printed for Benjamin Alsop, at the Angel and Bible in the Poultry, 1682 Faithfully reprinted from the Author's First Edition. ADVERTISEMENT BY THE EDITOR. Our curiosity is naturally excited to discover what a poor, unlettered mechanic, whose book-learning had been limited to the contents of one volume, could by possibility know
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

The Servant's Inflexible Resolve
'For the Lord God will help Me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set My face like a flint.'--ISAIAH l. 7. What a striking contrast between the tone of these words and of the preceding! There all is gentleness, docility, still communion, submission, patient endurance. Here all is energy and determination, resistance and martial vigour. It is like the contrast between a priest and a warrior. And that gentleness is the parent of this boldness. The same Will which is all submission
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Iranian Conquest
Drawn by Boudier, from the engraving in Coste and Flandin. The vignette, drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from a statuette in terra-cotta, found in Southern Russia, represents a young Scythian. The Iranian religions--Cyrus in Lydia and at Babylon: Cambyses in Egypt --Darius and the organisation of the empire. The Median empire is the least known of all those which held sway for a time over the destinies of a portion of Western Asia. The reason of this is not to be ascribed to the shortness of its duration:
G. Maspero—History Of Egypt, Chaldaea, Syria, Babylonia, and Assyria, V 9

The Prophet Jonah.
It has been asserted without any sufficient reason, that Jonah is older than Hosea, Joel, Amos, and Obadiah,--that he is the oldest among the prophets whose written monuments have been preserved to us. The passage in 2 Kings xiv. 25, where it is said, that Jonah, the son of Amittai the prophet, prophesied to Jeroboam the happy success of his arms, and the restoration of the ancient boundaries of Israel, and that this prophecy was confirmed by the event, cannot decide in favour of this assertion,
Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg—Christology of the Old Testament

To a modern taste, Ezekiel does not appeal anything like so powerfully as Isaiah or Jeremiah. He has neither the majesty of the one nor the tenderness and passion of the other. There is much in him that is fantastic, and much that is ritualistic. His imaginations border sometimes on the grotesque and sometimes on the mechanical. Yet he is a historical figure of the first importance; it was very largely from him that Judaism received the ecclesiastical impulse by which for centuries it was powerfully
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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