Chapter 6 - He Will Reign
The door opened with a loud mournful creak, and closed with a thunderous bang. “I’m home!” Ezekiel shouted.
Jedida strode quietly into the room. “Hello, Ezekiel!” she said with a bright smile. “Go on down to the shore to help Jared for a little while. After that, you may go play with your friends, if you want to. I’m heading next door to help Elizabeth.”
“Yes, Mother, but after I help Jared clean up at the lake, may I stay inside? I’m going to make something!” he said, his dark brown eyes twinkling. Jedida gave a slight nod and he was off. He started to rush out the gate towards the lake, but Ashira, on her way in from the garden, stopped him.
“Hello, Ezekiel. Where might you be going in such a hurry? Perhaps you do have the fisherman in your blood. Why, you just can’t wait to feel the wind in your hair and the sea air in your lungs, can you? Oh! Maybe it’s back to the synagogue you’re rushing?!” Ashira smiled, knowing how her little brother was always much more excited out of the synagogue than in it. Ezekiel grinned back at her. Ashira continued, in a much more serious tone of voice. “How were lessons at the synagogue today? Has the rabbi had anything to say about the Messiah…I know all of Capernaum has been buzzing with talk.”
“Yep, he says a lot, but nothing about the man Jesus—mostly just the general ‘These are the questions we must all ask ourselves about this Messiah.’ He says that if ever Israel needed a redeemer, it is now. The rabbi says if this is the true Messiah, God will probably—I mean maybe—give Him a mighty army like those of old so He can overthrow the Romans.”
“And what do you say?” Ashira asked him.
“I say that I want to be with father and see the Messiah when he comes through. I want to see his mighty army!”
Ashira smiled at him and shook her head, “And I suppose you’ll want to join, too!”
“He probably wouldn’t accept a boy of eleven in his army,” Ezekiel said solemnly.
“Probably not,” Ashira said, putting on a serious face to match his. She turned around, smiling secretly to herself, and went into the house. Ezekiel dashed down the hillside to join his brother at the shore.
Later, when all the day’s work at the shore had been completed, Ezekiel ran back up to the house, and called out in a sing-song voice, “Ariel! Where are you? I need to tell you something!”
“Here!” Ariel called back from the stable, where she was milking the goats.
Ezekiel rushed over. “Ah,” he said in a very self-satisfied way, “You are in just the right place to hear my performance! I made up a song just for you when I was cleaning up the nets by the lake. Here goes!” And with Ariel watching him, a very amused look on her face, he began to sing.
“Silly, silly, silly goats,
No brains, no brains.
When they eat their belly bloats,
They stink when it rains.
Their milk, however, is quite good,
I always drink all that I should.”
When he finished, Ariel clapped politely, and Ezekiel made a low bow. “Now I can make that sword,” he said, leaving the stable. “Let’s see, where did I put that carving knife?” He looked around the courtyard for a few minutes. “Aha, here it is!” Finding the knife on a shelf right inside the door, he pulled out a long piece of driftwood held in his rope belt. He sat down on the wobbly bench in the courtyard and began carving a “sword.” As he chiseled at the wood, his mind drifted to what had happened a few days before. Ezekiel remembered running down the street that led to synagogue.
“Glad to get away from those smelly, salty fish! Now, here we go,” he had said aloud to himself. “Past Shemuel’s house, past Daniel’s house, past the tanner—whoa, that stinks! Almost there, almost there, the rabbi’s house, okay—hey!” He stopped so suddenly he almost fell over. “A century is marching! One hundred soldiers! And one man, the centurion, commands all of them! Okay, is that centurion the ugly one with the big eyebrows? No, no. The one who never smiles? No, I think this is a new century, the centurion fresh from Rome!”
Ezekiel had let out a long whistle and continued whispering to himself. “Just look at that horse! Jet black with a single star. A saddle with the markings of Caesar on it. And the legionaries!” Ezekiel remembered blinking as the sun had suddenly reflected off a legionary’s breastplate. “All of them have brand new armor, and their dagger belts look so perfect and shiny. They’re all marching perfectly, not one out of step.” He straightened his own rope belt, “Hmmph, someday we will have an army like that.” Ezekiel had put his shoulders back, and began marching in time with the soldiers. Careful not to betray in his eyes the defiance his young heart had been trained to feel toward these pagan overseers, he put his mouth into a single straight line, his eyebrows slanting towards his nose. His face looked so serious, and he was completely caught off guard when he glanced back at the centurion on the black horse, and he thought the officer had winked at him.
Ezekiel sighed and said aloud, “That was so amazing. But it made me be late to the synagogue…again.”
Ezekiel was suddenly awakened from his daydream when Rebekah came skipping into the courtyard and stopped to watch him. “Watcha doin’, Zeke?” she inquired.
“I am making,” he said, proudly holding up the wood, “a sword!” A grin spread across his face.
Rebekah giggled, “What do you need a sword for?”
Keeping his eyes on what he was doing, Ezekiel said sheepishly, “Well, I want to pretend that I’m a part of the Messiah’s mighty army, and I’m going to help free Israel! The Messiah’s going to raise an army, and I wish I could be a part of it. As glorious as the Roman soldiers are, it would be even more glorious to defeat them forever!”
Rebekah looked at him quizzically. “Uh-huh,” she said, no longer interested, and went off skipping and humming to herself.
Anna, who had been listening to the conversation from the house, stepped out into the courtyard and sat down beside Ezekiel. He was glad she came over. Grandma Nana was always longing for the Messiah. He knew she’d surely like his creation. Anna spoke, “So, you’re making a sword to defeat the enemies of Israel?”
“Uh-huh,” Ezekiel nodded enthusiastically, without looking up.
“Well, how did David overcome Goliath? Did he wear Saul’s armor and go out with a sharp sword and shield? Indeed, no! He went out onto the field, equipped only with a humble sling and—”
“Great idea!” Ezekiel interrupted. “I’ll make a new sling instead—better than my old one!”
Anna chuckled softly to herself. “Ah, but let me finish, Ezekiel. David went out to fight the giant with only a sling, his stones, and his faith in God. He was passionate for the God of Israel. God honored this, and helped David conquer Goliath. Can the Lord not do the same today?”
“Yes, Nana,” Ezekiel said, puzzled by her words, and ventured to ask, “But it seems like everyone talks about the Anointed One restoring Israel. How will He do that without an army?”
Anna replied thoughtfully, “Oh, He may still gather an army, Ezekiel. The prophet Isaiah does speak of the coming King shattering the yoke that burdens Israel, the bar across our shoulders, the rod of our oppressors. But it has always been true that Adonai looks to men’s hearts NOT their weapons. Perhaps that’s why the baptist speaks so much of repentance. Child, make your heart ready for the King.”
Ezekiel soberly considered his grandmother’s words. “Yeah, I do want to make my heart ready.” Then he brightened. “And my sword!”
Oh, Redeemer, we have so longed for You!!
Is it NOW true?
That our Redeemer lives and
NOW stands upon the earth? (Job 19:25)
O Lord, Our Rock, Our Redeemer,
O Mighty One of Jacob,
You made a way through the sea,
A path through the mighty waters,
You drew out that army
And lay them there
Never to rise again. (Is. 43:14)
Will You rescue us once again?
O Lord, Our Rock, Our Redeemer,
Contend with those who contend with Your chosen one,
Save us, save our children, (Is. 49:24)
Come down to make Your Name
Known to Your enemies,
Do not remember our sins forever,
Look on us, we pray, (Is. 64:2-9).
O Lord, Our Maker, Our Redeemer,
Bring us back with deep compassion, (Is. 54:6)
Come to us, O Redeemer,
To those who repent of their sins, (Is. 59:26)
Let Your glory rise on us, (Is. 60:2)
Let all who despise us bow down
And call us the City of the LORD.
Is it now time
For the new thing You promised?
O Lord, Our Rock, Our Redeemer,
Make a way in the desert,
Give drink to Your people, Your chosen. (Is. 44:24)
Restore the ruins,
Rebuild us again,
Teach us what is best,
Direct us in the way we should go. (Is. 48:17)
Then all will know
The LORD is Our Savior,
The LORD is Our Redeemer,
The Mighty One of Jacob. (Is. 60:13)