Ezekiel

Tuesday Devotional: Ezekiel 43

Read Ezekiel 43bible

1Then the man brought me to the gate facing east, and I saw the glory of the God of Israel coming from the east. His voice was like the roar of rushing waters, and the land was radiant with his glory. 

We are easily overcome by two things: what is powerful and what is beautiful.  When we are in the presence of something more powerful than we are, it is easy to submit to its power.  When we are in the presence of something more beautiful than we are, it is easy to submit to its beauty.  When Ezekiel had this vision he noticed the power of God’s voice and then he noticed the radiant glory that His presence brought to the land.  Many of us have read the Bible and have yet to experience the power of God’s voice.  Why is that?

Perhaps we must ask ourselves if we even want to experience the power of God’s voice as it is meant to be heard.  Or do we know that to hear the voice of God unobstructed might mean that the authority of His power and voice would override ours, and tell us what we don’t actually want to hear? Might that voice lead us where we don’t ever want to go?  There is undeniable power in hearing the uncompromised voice of the living God, and there is unavoidable authority with that power.  If we want to experience the power of the living Word and the voice of God we must listen to Him.  If we listen to Him, we will be overpowered by Him.  Not the power that takes life, but a power that transforms and creates NEW life.

Many of us have sought God in our spirit and in the Bible and have found nothing but a judgmental, angry and violent God.  We have yet to find the beauty that Ezekiel witnessed in this vision.  How can we experience His beauty?  The first answer seems obvious.  First, we have to look at Him.  We cannot rely on the second-hand illustrations and compositions, and testify to have seen God and an ugly God for that matter.  We have to gaze upon the LIVING God as He was and is.  If we observe His anger, ask yourself, “Why is He angry?”  If you observe His violence and anger, ask yourself, “What preceded His anger and violence?”  “Was He always angry?”  “What made him angry and was the violence justified?”

To know God’s beauty we have to look upon God and witness Him completely.  Second, we have to see His impact on His surroundings.  Notice that verse one did not merely say that He possessed glory but that He brought glory to the land.  Something of beauty beautifies its surroundings.  People will climb up dangerous, foreboding cliffs in order to capture a photo of a rare and stunning plant or animal.  Something of beauty brings out the beauty in the things that it encounters.  God does not simply desire that we find Him beautiful.  He desires that we see His beauty in creation and that through His creation we ultimately see Him as the most glorious figure in our lives.  To know God is to know His power and be overcome by it.  However, without an awe for His beauty and the beauty of all He touches we cannot attest to having known Him as He is.

Tuesday Devotional: Ezekiel 37

bible

Read Ezekiel 37:15-28 here.

From the beginning, God has desired two things for people: that we be united, and that we be with him.  God recognized from the beginning that life is far more fruitful when we work together as one.  He recognized that the heart of man is incomplete and unfulfilled in isolation. With a message that echoes throughout the entire Bible, Jesus prayed that we would be one, as God is one, in a reference to the triune experience.  God also realized that life’s daily obstacles are impossible for us to navigate without a guiding light, a path to follow or a voice to listen to.  From the beginning God communicated to his people that not only do they need to work as one, but they need to be “with him.”  Only in his presence would his people find the way that leads to prosperity of the spirit and safety for the soul.  However, as frequently as he communicated this message of “oneness” to his people, his people refused to listen and fragmented their human relationships as well as their spiritual one with their one and only God.  Likewise, as much as God advised them on the value of being one with him alone, for their own well being, his people continued to follow the idols of their hearts and reaped the destruction brought on by their choices.  The irony is that despite the continual neglect of his message, God’s patience with his people increased. More than that, in the end he proactively became “God With Us” in the form of the despised, rejected and crucified Emmanuel: Jesus Christ.  The life of Jesus Christ is more than simply good news.  It is THE news.  Jesus Christ represents the extreme limits of how far God’s love is willing to stretch, if only to be united with his children as he created them to be.