Learning from Ezekiel 1-10
1:1-2:10 - ‘The heavens were opened and I saw visions of God... The Word of the Lord came to Ezekiel’(1:1-2). The Lord opens our eyes to ‘see the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ’ (2 Corinthians 4:4). The Lord speaks to us and we must listen to Him: ‘Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening’ (1 Samuel 3:9-10). ‘The Spirit came into me... Do not be afraid of them or their words’ (2:2,6). Through the Spirit, we receive wisdom - ‘We have received the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand what God has freely given us’ - and strength - ‘God strengthens us with power through His Spirit in our inner being’ (1 Corinthians 2:12; Ephesians 3:16). ‘Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart... Be Thou my Wisdom, Thou my true Word... Be Thou my Battleshield, sword for the fight’ (Church Hymnary, 87).
3:1-4:17 - God speaks to us: ‘The Word of the Lord came to me’ (3:16). We speak to God: “Ah, Lord God!’ (4:14). We speak for God: ‘When I speak to you, I will open your mouth and you shall say to them, “This is what the Lord God says, Whoever will listen, let him listen...”’ (3:27). How can we keep on listening to God, speaking to God and speaking for God? We need to be strengthened with the power of the Holy Spirit: ‘The Spirit came into me and raised me to my feet’ (3:24). The Spirit is our ‘Helper’. He helps us to listen to God: ‘The Holy Spirit will teach you all things’ (John 14:26). He helps us to speak to God: ‘The Spirit helps us in our weakness’ (Romans 8:26). He helps us to speak for God: ‘You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My witnesses’ (Acts 1:8).
5:1-6:14 - ‘Because you have defiled My sanctuary... I Myself will withdraw My favour’ (5:11). To those who despise His Word and treat the place of prayer with contempt, Jesus still speaks His Word of judgment: ‘My House will be called a House of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves’ (Matthew 21:13). God is warning us: ‘You have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Return to Me and change the way you think and act. If you don’t change, I will come to you and remove your lamp from its place’ (Revelation 2:4-5). When God removes His blessing, there is nothing left but ‘a desolate waste’ (6:14). Make sure you don’t become like Samson - ‘“I will go out as at other times, and shake myself free”. He did not know that the Lord had left him’ (Judges 16:20).
7:1-8:18 - ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says to the land of Israel: The end!’ (7:2). Why did God say, ‘This is “the end”’? He had been taking a good look at what was going on among His people: ‘the utterly detestable things the house of Israel is doing here, things that will drive Me far from My sanctuary’ (8:6). He came to this conclusion - ‘This is the end of the road. It’s the end of the time of blessing. It’s now time for judgment’: ‘The end is now upon you and I will unleash My anger against you. I will judge you according to... all your detestable practices...’ (7:3-4). Why did God say, ‘This is “the end”’ - the end of a time of blessing, the beginning of a time of judgment? The answer is clear: If there is no obedience, there can be no blessing. Disobedience can lead to only one thing - judgment.
9:1-10:22 - For many people, the time of blessing had come to an end and the time of judgment had begun. Some, however, would escape the judgment, They had been obedient to God. He protected them in the time of judgment: ‘Put a mark on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over all the detestable things that are done... Do not touch anyone who has the mark’ (9:4,6). They were marked out as God’s faithful people. They had continued to worship the Lord when so many others were turning away from Him. For many people, life can be summed up in these sad words: ‘The glory of the Lord departed’(10:18). ‘I looked and I saw...’ (10:1,9): In a time when many show no interest in the Lord, there are those who look to Him and catch a glimpse of His glory - ‘the glory of the God of Israel was above them’ (10:19).