TODAYíS READING: EZEKIEL 1-5
Ezekiel receives a vision of Godís glory; Ezekiel receives his commission; Ezekiel is instructed to physically typify the siege and judgment of Jerusalem.
HIGHLIGHTS & INSIGHTS:
Ezekiel chapter 1 records one of the most incredible visions in the Word of God. The vision includes four living creatures flying through the air like a flash of lightning, a crystal sea, creatures with multiple eyes and faces ushering in a throne, and an appearance of the pre-incarnate Christ. Ezekiel is ushered into the presence of the Lord and sees a glimpse of the Second Advent. Just like Isaiah (Isa. 6:1-8) and the Apostle John (Rev. 4-5), Ezekiel is overwhelmed by the revelation of Christ in all of His glory. Ezekielís response will be the response of every person when they see Christ in all of His glory. He falls on his face! What a contrast to the nonchalant way much of Christianity approaches the Lord Jesus Christ! There is no room for pride or selfishness in the presence of God Almighty. One day every knee will bow to the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 14:11).
Chapters two through three record Godís commission for Ezekiel. He is to prophesy to the nation of Israel during the seventy year exile. Ezekiel paints a picture for every Christian of what it really means to be a witness for Christ. The picture begins with an encounter with Christ. In chapter one, Ezekiel comes face to face with Christ (1:28). However, the encounter didnít just involve what Ezekiel saw, but also what Ezekiel heard. Speaking in the first person, Ezekiel says, ďand I heard a voice of one that spake.Ē Our effectiveness as a witness for Christ must begin with a daily encounter with Christ. How can we encounter Christ if He doesnít (and wonít) appear to us in a vision like Ezekielís? We encounter Christ by listening to His Word. It is Godís written revelation that gives us a glimpse of Christ in all of His glory!
However, it isnít enough just to hear Godís words. We must also receive that word in our heart. God instructed Ezekiel, ďall my words that I shall speak unto thee receive in thine heartĒ (3:10). We must receive Godís words into our heart in such a way that they change the way we think, behave, and live. It is interesting that God tells Ezekiel to receive ďallĒ His words. Over the course of this prophecy, God is going to give Ezekiel some very difficult things to do and say. When it comes to Godís written revelation, we canít be choosey. Sometimes the Word will be sweet. Sometimes it will be bitter. Sometimes it will comfort and sometimes it will sting. We must receive it all regardless. This also serves as a warning to those who would tamper with the Word of God, and preachers who would fail to teach ďall the counsel of GodĒ (Acts 20:27).
God then instructs Ezekiel to speak His words (2:7, 3:23-27). Ezekiel spoke as a prophet of God when he uttered the phrase, ďThus saith the LORD GOD.Ē Our counsel to others should not be conclusions based on our own life experiences and opinions. We must share what we have received in our heart -- Godís words. It is interesting to note that Ezekielís actions mirrored his spoken words. God continually asks Ezekiel to demonstrate His truth to Israel by the way He lives (as seen in the sign of the tile, shaving, burning hair, lying on each side, and imprisonment). Our life must reflect the truth of God. Our actions will speak louder than our words!
You would think that Ezekiel was ready to so speak. However, God gives a couple of other instructions. Ezekiel was to go and identify with the people (3:15). How can we share the love of Christ with people with whom we arenít willing to identify? Before Ezekiel spoke, he sat quietly with those who would be the recipients of his/Godís message. We must be willing to spend time with people and to listen. Ezekiel waited for Godís direction before he spoke. The clichť is true ó ďPeople wonít care how much you know until they know how much you care.Ē
Finally, God gives Ezekiel a warning. Ezekiel will be held accountable. He isnít accountable for the response of the people, but He is accountable to hear, receive, and speak the words of God (3:15-21). God doesnít ask us to change the hearts of men, but He does require that we hear the Word of Christ, receive the Word of Christ, and share the Word of Christ (Col. 3:16; I Tim. 4:16).
Are you encountering Christ daily by meeting with Him in His word? Are you listening to His words and receiving them in your heart? Are you identifying with those around you and speaking Godís Word to them, both audibly, and in the way you live?
CHRIST IS REVEALED:
As the APPEARANCE OF A MAN UPON THE THRONE Ė Ezek. 1:26 (Rev. 1:13-17).