Then this message came to me from the Lord: “Son of man, with one blow I will take away your dearest treasure. Yet you must not show any sorrow at her death. Do not weep; let there be no tears. Groan silently, but let there be no wailing at her grave. Do not uncover your head or take off your sandals. Do not perform the usual rituals of mourning or accept any food brought to you by consoling friends.”
So I proclaimed this to the people the next morning, and in the evening my wife died. The next morning I did everything I had been told to do. Then the people asked, “What does all this mean? What are you trying to tell us?”
So I said to them, “A message came to me from the Lord, and I was told to give this message to the people of Israel. This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will defile my Temple, the source of your security and pride, the place your heart delights in. Your sons and daughters whom you left behind in Judea will be slaughtered by the sword. Then you will do as Ezekiel has done. You will not mourn in public or console yourselves by eating the food brought by friends. Your heads will remain covered, and your sandals will not be taken off. You will not mourn or weep, but you will waste away because of your sins. You will groan among yourselves for all the evil you have done.” (Ezekiel 24:15-23)
God told Ezekiel that his wife would die and that he should not grieve for her. Ezekiel obeyed God fully, even as Hosea did when he was told to marry an unfaithful woman (Hosea 1:2-3). In both cases, these unusual events were intended as symbolic acts to picture God’s relationship with his people.
Ezekiel was not allowed to mourn for his dead wife in order to show his fellow exiles that they were not to mourn over Jerusalem when it was destroyed. Any personal sorrow felt would soon be eclipsed by national sorrow over the horror of the city’s total destruction.
Ezekiel always obeyed God wholeheartedly. We can follow his example by doing all that God commands us to do, even when we don’t feel like it. Are you willing to serve God as completely as Ezekiel did?