“Son of man, I am going to take away your dearest treasure. Suddenly she will die. Yet you must not show any sorrow. Do not weep; let there be no tears.” — Ezekiel 24:16
Ezekiel was ever conscious that his people were caught up in a tragedy of their own making and that he had been called to warn them of the coming consequences of their sin.
Chapter 24 describes the death of Ezekiel's beloved wife. Those whom God calls are often asked to surrender their personal life to obey the call of their public responsibility. So it was for Ezekiel. He was told in advance of his wife's death, but to the rest of the people, her death was sudden and unexpected. God commanded Ezekiel not to weep or mourn out loud in the accustomed way. The day after his wife was taken from him, Ezekiel simply records, “The next morning I did everything I had been told to do” (Ezekiel 24:18). What a night of private anguish he must have suffered!
Yet the whole tragedy was an opportunity for God to drive home a startling warning about the lack of grief Israel must soon exhibit when faced with the destruction of their beloved temple and a bleak future. Just as Ezekiel's beloved wife had died suddenly and Ezekiel could not express grief, so the temple—the Jews' dearest possession—would shortly be destroyed, and they would not be able to mourn or weep (24:20‑22).
Personal grief and sorrow in God's hands can result in powerful ministry! We must so surrender to obedience that whatever happens to us, those who are watching us will hear the voice of God speaking to them through us.
For further study: Ezekiel 24:15-27