Rub a Dub-dub, Three Men Without a Tub
Reading: Ezekiel 11-15
Poor Ezekiel was called upon to do some very strange things—a kind of living illustration of the judgment to come on God’s people. His message was not usually a pleasant one—as unpleasant as some of the drama he was instructed to perform to accompany it.
But I was intrigued today by some verses from Ezekiel 14. The word of the Lord comes to Ezekiel and he is told to pronounce four judgments: sword, famine, wild beasts and plague. As each of the judgments is announced, the Almighty makes the statement that caught my attention.
“’Son of man, if a country sins against me by being unfaithful and I stretch out my hand against it to cut off its food supply and send famine upon it and kill its men and their animals, even if these three men—Noah, Daniel and Job—were in it, they could save only themselves by their righteousness, declares the Sovereign Lord” (Ezekiel 14:13, 14, NIV). Four times these three men are mentioned.
There is a good supply of righteous men in the Old Testament who are better known that even Noah, Daniel and Job. So, why these three? As I "chewed" on the question, it struck me that these men were men who had suffered the loss of everything but hadn’t lost their abiding faith in God as a result of that loss.
Noah saw just about everything he knew and loved washed away in a mammoth flood.
Daniel lost his family and country and was taken away into captivity to live among foreigners who despised him because of what he believed.
Job lost his family, his possessions and his health in a heavenly battle that he wasn’t even aware of.
Throughout the prophetic books like Ezekiel, God announces loss—tremendous, horrific loss. At the same time He sprinkles that loss liberally with the hope of restoration. The mention of these three names should have triggered in Ezekiel’s audience an “aha” moment. These men lost everything, except their faith that God would deliver. Even Job, in the midst of challenging God to a court date so that he could defend his innocence, didn’t turn his back on the Almighty.
The lesson was clear: even when everything is gone, don’t walk away from God. Take your lumps, learn your lessons, and live in the hope that hangs on the promises of God who said: “I will save my people” (Ezekiel 13:23, NIV).