God’s House of Bread and War

Elohim, our God of War, took hold of His prophet and said 

“Eat it as barley cakes,Bake it on human dung before their eyes. Then Adonai said, “This is how Bnei-Yisrael will eat their bread—unclean, among the nations where I will scatter them.” Ezekiel 4:12-13

As I transfer my wheelbarrow from the front to the backyard, I am thrilled because it is filled with wood chips for my garden. I am feeling blessed that I was able to land free mulch from a local arborist. Praise God are the words that flow through my mind. As I dug into the fallen tree, I wondered why its master chose to chop it down. Little tree, did you not bear fruit? Did you fall victim to disease? Were you growing in the wrong place? I felt terrible, but I needed the richness of this fallen tree. I’m learning that I must build my soil to have healthy plants. People are likened to trees in ScriptureI started pondering what type of tree I would be if the blind man laid eyes upon me. I hope my roots spread out to greet the living waters.

Blessed is the one who trusts in Adonai,

    whose confidence is in Adonai.

For he will be like a tree planted by the waters,

        spreading out its roots by a stream.

    It has no fear when heat comes,

        but its leaves will be green.

    It does not worry in a year of drought,

    nor depart from yielding fruit. Jeremiah 17:7-8

As I shoveled away, I noticed a smell that wasn’t native to trees. A stench that molested my nostrils and caused me to stop digging. I spotted human feces in my freshly delivered wood chips. At the moment, my children and I were perplexed. We didn’t understand the why or even the how. At first, I thought maybe it was dog poop. But I’ve never met a dog who wipes its behind with toilet paper. We discarded the dung and felt paranoid about continuing to move the mulch to our garden. I thought about the life lesson at this moment. I laughed and told the kids, hey, with every blessing in this life, there’s always a pile of turd that comes with it. Life’s about balance. Take the good with the stinky. It wasn’t until the following day, after talking with a friend, that I was reminded of another who had a near run-in with human dung. I decided to pull up Ezekiel and start studying. As I read on, I thought about the symbolism of bread in the Bible. Why would God use bread as a point to be made to His adulterous children in Ezekiel 4? Let’s dig into some of the symbols of bread.

  • Gift from Adonai, provision and security Exodus 16, Matthew 6:9-13
  • Presence of Adonai Exodus 25:30
  • God’s word Deuteronomy 8:3
  • Yeshua John 6:35 (Pretty much everything that Yeshua embodies)
  • Life, Salvation, Freedom, Forgiveness Matthew 26:26
  • Bethlehem which has a dual meaning- House of Bread or House of War

The vast richness behind the humble loaf has intrigued me. My brain started acting like a pinball machine as I researched bread. But what caught my attention was what appeared to be two different root words for Bethlehem. Abarim publications have this to say :

“But whether the similarity between the two roots is coincidental or not, a Hebrew audience would realize that the word for bread, or food in general, was identical to the word meaning (God’s) war.”

To the ancients, Bethlehem was a house of war and bread. As mentioned above, Yeshua is the bread of life; we pray for our daily provision of bread and break bread during Passover. Bread is a gift, a source of security and provision, but it’s also God’s word. God had Ezekiel use bread and dung to make a clear point. After understanding this, the verse below made more sense to me. They knew and understood very well. That scares me because, do we?

4 Then He said to me, “Son of man, go to the house of Israel and speak My words to them. 5 For you are not sent to a people of unintelligible speech and difficult tongue, but to the house of Israel, 6 nor to many peoples of unintelligible speech or difficult tongue, whose words you cannot understand. Surely, if I sent you to such, they would listen to you. 7 But the house of Israel will not be willing to listen to you, for they are not willing to listen to Me. Surely the whole house of Israel has a hard forehead and a stubborn heart. Ezekiel 3:4-7

I try to feel Adonai’s emotions as He speaks to His prophet. What would cause me to say these words? Give us this day our daily bread; this source isn’t just food for our bellies but the very presence of God. As our Elohim let the words pour out to Ezekiel, I imagine He felt many sorrowful and angry feelings. He was about to take the provision He freely gives and make it a symbol of war against His children, with feces as its fuel- that makes me feel shitty reading it.

Exodus 15:3 states that 

“The Lord is a man of war; the Lord is His name.”

 Adonai is an Elohim of War and Bread. Judgment starts in Adonai’s house. But which side of our Mighty God do we receive? Well, that depends on what team we play on. Throughout Scripture, we read about our God’s grief over His children. We are called adulterous, unclean, fornicators, and idol lovers, to name a few. We can argue that that was history or not written to us. But then again, why risk it? Does our relationship with God supersede religion, or is it vice versa? I want to know the God that called Abraham out of a foreign land. The God that bends down to whisper in my ear. A relationship in its real, raw form. I want to know if I make Him weep. Not if I am I keeping up with the latest trends in religious dogma. Religions and, yes, even our Bibles change over time. What is to remain a constant is the relationship we have built. Anyone of us knows how much blood, sweat, and tears go into our most precious and faithful relationships. Abraham was accredited as righteous because of his faithfulness to a God he didn’t physically see, nor did he have a book to read and understand. Ahh, but he had an ongoing relationship with his Elohim. A relationship is what matters. How will we know if it’s God or not? Well, that’s the Ruach/Holy Spirit’s role to encourage, correct, enlighten, etc., and also the seasoned servants among us to help show us where to look but never tell us what to see. But we must be humble and teachable like little children and yet wise and discerning. These are build over time in our relationships.

Yeshua tells us he has not come to bring peace but division and a sword. He sounds a lot like His Pappa. The Lord of war, born in Bethlehem, brings a loaf of bread to feed the hungry, to show us how to build God’s kingdom, and the sword of the word to tear down the false systems set to replace God’s kingdom. Yeshua is the bread of life, and the word of Elohim made flesh. Very intriguing symbolism here reminds me of a Scripture when the children of Israel were rebuilding a wall.

 Those building the wall and those bearing heavy burdens kept one hand on the work and the other holding a weapon.” Nehemiah 4:11

“Do you suppose that I have come to bring shalom on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division” Luke 12:51

“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” Matthew 10:34

Throughout chapter 4 of Nehemiah, we read about the fear and disbelief of Israel and how those laden with a heavy burden not only worked to rebuild a strong foundation for our Elohim and His people, but they brought their swords with them too. Bread and sword. Did I mention the shofar blowers, who watch guard and alert the people to prepare for what’s coming. There’s always a forerunner before Yeshua comes. One who paves the way for His return. Several returns, and they never take the form of religious expectations. I see Yeshua all over this chapter, do you? I see him in every chapter written in our Bibles. But more importantly, I see him in everyday life.

This thought takes me back to my original pinball, Ezekiel, human dung, and wood chips. How does this message still apply to us today? May the body of God’s kingdom in our time build as they did in Nehemiah’s days, but let’s build His kingdom up, not ours. Otherwise, God may take His face from us, leaving us with the true God of War.

Works Cited:


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