Notes on Ezekiel
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).
11:1-12:16 - God speaks to us about our sin - ‘Son of man, you are living among a rebellious people’ - and His salvation - ‘I will... put a new spirit in them...’ (12:2; 11:19-20). We must receive’ with humility, the bad news concerning our sin - ‘The wages of sin is death’ - before we can receive, with gladness, the Good News concerning God’s salvation - ‘The free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord’ (Romans 6:23). God wants each of us to be saved: ‘The Lord... does not want anyone to perish; He wants everyone to turn away from their sins’ (2 Peter 3:9). To those who refuse to be saved, dismissing the bad news concerning their sin and closing their hearts to the Good News concerning God’s salvation, God speaks His Word or warning: ‘...I will punish them for what they have done’ (11:21).
12:17-13:23 - ‘Hear the Word of the Lord!’ (13:2). God’s Word warns us: ‘The time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths’. When we see this happening, we must commit ourselves to the Lord, living as His faithful servants: ‘As for you, always be steady, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfil your ministry’ (2 Timothy 4:3-5). When people are looking for a ‘feel good’ type of message, a message with plenty of entertainment and no real challenge, we must remember this: God’s Word is to be used for ‘teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness...’ (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
14:1-15:8 - ‘Some of the elders of Israel came to’ Ezekiel. He spoke the Word of the Lord to them: ‘Repent! Turn from your idols and renounce all your detestable practices!’ (14:1,8). This may not have been what they wanted to hear. It was what God wanted them to hear. They did not want to hear this, but they needed to hear it. God was warning them what would happen if they did not make a real return to Him: ‘I will make the land desolate because they have been unfaithful’ (15:8). God’s Word demands a response. What will our response be? Will we say, ‘We don’t want the Lord “to reign over us”’ (Luke 19:14)? Will we be, like Peter, who ‘took Jesus aside and began to rebuke Him...’ (Matthew 16:22)? Don’t be like those who dismiss God’s Word with arrogant pride. Listen to His Word, and let Him change you.
16:1-34 - Without Christ, we are naked and dirty. He covers our nakedness and washes away our dirtiness (8-9). He is our Saviour. We must come to Him with this prayer: ‘Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to Thy Cross I cling; Naked, come to Thee for dress; Helpless, look to Thee for grace; Foul, I to the fountain fly; Wash me, Saviour, I die’ (Church Hymnary, 83). God hears and answers this prayer. He has given us His promise: ‘Whoever comes to Me, I will never drive away’ (John 6:37). When God has heard and answered our prayer for salvation, we have this joyful testimony: ‘I delight greatly in the Lord, my soul rejoices in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness’ (Isaiah 61:10). We rejoice in this: ‘He saved us by washing away our sins’ (Titus 3:5).
16:35-63 - God calls His unfaithful people to listen to His Word: ‘You prostitute, hear the Word of the Lord!’ (35). He speaks to them of ‘sin, righteousness and judgment’ (John 16:8). He shows them their sin - ‘your filthiness and your nakedness’ (36). He speaks to them as the righteous God, the God of perfect holiness - ‘Your eyes are too holy to look at evil. You cannot stand the sight of people doing wrong’ (Habakkuk 1:13). He warns them that there will be judgment: ‘I will judge you” (38). Why does God speak to us of sin, righteousness and judgment? This is His way of bringing us to repentance - ‘I will make you stop being a prostitute’ - and salvation - “My anger will be over, and I will be calm’ (41-42). Our sin is great, but our Saviour is greater - ‘Wonderful grace of Jesus, greater than all my sin... Praise His Name!’.
17:1-24 - To those who adopt a ‘rebellious’ attitude to Him, God speaks His Word of warning. They shall ‘not escape’ His judgment (12,18). To those who abandon this attitude of rebellion, there is a way of salvation. In verses 22 to 24, we have a prophecy which looks forward to the coming of the Messiah, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. This prophecy ends with God’s promise: ‘I the Lord have spoken, and I will do it’. God has fulfilled His promise. He has sent His Son to be our Saviour (Matthew1:22-23). We now await the fulfilment of prophecy concerning Christ’s Return: ‘I will come again’; ‘This same Jesus... will come back’; ‘The Lord Himself will come down from heaven’. He says, “I am coming soon’. We say, ‘Come, Lord Jesus’ (John 14:3; Acts 1:11; 1 Thessalonoians 4:16; Revelation 22:20).
18:1-32 - ‘The soul that sins shall die’ (4). ‘If a man is righteous... he shall surely live’ (5-9) What hope is there for us? If we look with honesty into our own hearts, we discover this dark truth concerning ourselves: ‘None is righteous... All have sinned’ (Romans 3:10,23). Is there any Good News for us? Is there a way that leads to eternal life? ‘Suppose there is a truly good man, righteous and honest...’ (4). Is there such a man? Is there a man concerning whom God says, ‘That man is righteous; he will surely live’ (9). Yes! There is! Who is this man? What does the Word of God tell us about him? He is Jesus Christ, our Saviour. He ‘died for our sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring us to God’ (1 Peter 3:18). We put our faith in Him. He gives us ‘eternal life’. We ‘pass from death to life’ (1 John 5:11-13; John 5:24).
19:1-14 - There is real sadness here. It is the sadness of God - as He looks upon the sinfulness of His people. If we truly love the Lord, we will have great sadness when we see people turning away from the Lord and ruining their lives. We have joy in the Lord - ‘Rejoice in the Lord always’ (Philippians 4:4). There is also ‘great sorrow’ in our hearts when we think of those who refuse to come to Christ for salvation. This ‘sorrow’ leads us to pray: ‘My heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved’ (1,14; Romans 9:2; 10:1). Let us pray for our ‘dry and thirsty land’. Pray that God will come to our ‘wilderness’: ‘He will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth’. Pray that people will ‘return to the Lord’. Pray that they will ‘press on to know the Lord’ (13; Hosea 6:1-3).
20:1-26 - What great things God did for His people, Israel. He ‘brought them out of the land of Egypt’. He led them to ‘a land flowing with milk and honey’ (6). Think of what God has done for us. He has brought us out of our sin and into His salvation: ‘He called you out of darkness into His marvellous light’ (1 Peter 2:9). Saved by the Lord, Israel was to live for the Lord: ‘I am the Lord your God. Obey My laws and My commands’ (19). We have been saved by the Lord: ‘You have been saved by grace through faith. This is not your own doing. It is the gift of God’. He calls us to live for Him. We have been ‘saved... for good works’. Our ‘good works’ are to ‘bring glory to our Father in heaven’ (Matthew 5:16). Let us ‘walk in the light’, rejoicing in our Saviour - ‘the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin’ (1 John 1:7).
20:27-49 - Here, we have a clear statement of God’s purpose for our lives: ‘Through you I intend to display My holiness for all the nations to see’ (41). He wants other people to notice that we are different. He wants them to see that we have been changed by Him: ‘As the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like Him’ (2 Corinthians 3:18). This is to be our testimony: ‘What a wonderful change in my life has been wrought since Jesus came into my heart!... I have ceased from my wandering and going astray since Jesus came into my heart! And my sins which were many are all washed away since Jesus came into my heart!’ (Mission Praise, 748). May God help us to live as ‘a new creation’, being ‘renewed every day’. Make it ‘your aim’ to ‘live for Him’ and ‘please Him’ (2 Corinthians 4:16-18; 5:9,15,17).
21:1-32 - We read here about ‘the time of final punishment’ (25,29). God’s Word speaks to us about ‘eternal punishment’ as well as ‘eternal life’: ‘Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not have life, but will remain under God’s punishment’ (Matthew 25:46; John 3:36). God loves us. He sent His Son to be our Saviour. He calls us to put our faith in Christ (John 3:16-18). He speaks to us His Word of promise - ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved’ - and His Word of warning - ‘How shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation?’ (Hebrews 2:3). God is calling us to ‘flee from the wrath to come’ (Luke 3:7). We must turn from sin - ‘Turn away from your sins and live’ - and turn to Him - ‘Turn to Me and be saved’ (18:32; Isaiah 45:22).
22:1-31 - ‘I looked for a man..., but I found none’ (30). God is looking for people who will be faithful in prayer. What happens when God’s people refuse to pray? God’s Word leaves us in no doubt - ‘I will pour out My anger on them..., bringing down on their own heads all they have done’ (31). What a tragedy! The people refused to pray - and there was no blessing from the Lord: ‘You do not have, because you do not ask God’ (James 4:2). Things could have been so different: ‘If My people, who are called by My Name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land’ (2 Chronicles 7:14). God wants to bless us. We must pray for His blessing. ‘Ask and it will be given to you...’ (Matthew 7:7-8).
23:1-49 - ‘Because you have forgotten Me and turned your back on Me, you will be punished for all your sin’ (35). We are to remember the Lord. We must not forget Him. We must not let the Word of God ‘go in one ear and out the other’. We must be ‘doers of the Word’ as well as ‘hearers of the Word’ (James 1:22-25). Let’s put the past behind us and make a new beginning with God: ‘Return to Me, and I will return to you’ (Malachi 3:7). ‘Have mercy on me, O God... Cleanse me from my sin... Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation’ (Psalm 51:1-2,10-12). Let this be the prayer of your heart and the blessing of God will flow into your life.
24:1-27 - ‘I will punish you because of the way you lived’ (14). God is calling us to think about the way we are living. He wants us to leave behind the old, self-centred way of living. He wants us to begin a new life, a life that is centred on Him. Real change comes from God. We must pray that He will change us - ‘Change my heart, O God. Make it ever true. Change my heart, O God. May I be like You’. We must pray for a deep work of the Spirit of God in our hearts - ‘Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me... Break me, melt me, mould me, fill me...’. We must pray that we will become more like Jesus - ‘Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me, all His wondrous compassion and purity. Oh, Thou Spirit divine, all my nature refine, till the beauty of Jesus be seen in me’ (Mission Praise, 69,613,410).
25:1-17 - We read here about God’s judgment upon sinful nations - Ammon (1-7), Moab (8-11), Edom (12-14) and Philistia (15-17). God speaks to us. He says to us, ‘You will know that I am the Lord’ (5,7,11,17). He speaks to us as our Judge. He speaks to us about ‘sin, righteousness and judgment’ (John 16:8-11). We are sinners. God is righteous. There will be a Judgment. This is God’s way of showing us how much we need His love. He shows us how much we need to be saved so that we might learn to be truly thankful to Him for the Good News of His love, the Gospel of our salvation - ‘God so loved the world that He gave His only Son...’; ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners’; ‘Christ died for our sins’ (John 3:16; 1 Timothy 1:15; 1 Corinthians 15:3). Let us ‘rejoice in God our Saviour’ (Luke 2:47).
26:1-21 - ‘I am against you, O Tyre... You will be no more... You will never again be found...’ (3,21). God’s Word is spoken against us: ‘There is no-one righteous... All have turned away... There is no-one who does good... All have sinned...’ (Romans 3:10,12.23). God speaks His Word against us ‘so that every mouth may be silenced’ (Romans 3:19). He wants us to stop making excuses for ourselves. He wants us to start listening to what He has to say to us. For the city of Tyre, the situation was hopeless. For us, there is a Word of hope. Jesus Christ has come ‘to seek and to save the lost’. Jesus Christ has ‘died for our sins’ (Luke 19:10; 1 Peter 3:18). ‘Through faith in Jesus Christ’, we hear God’s Word of forgiveness: ‘I will remember their sins no more’ (Romans 3:22; Hebrews 8:12; 10:17).
27:1-36 - ‘Your wealth... will sink into the heart of the sea on the day of your shipwreck’ (27). We will sink if we don’t ‘keep our eyes fixed on Jesus’. We must not allow ourselves to get weighed down. We must not become ‘entangled’ in the world’s way of living. We must ‘throw off everything that hinders’ our spiritual growth. Jesus is ‘the sure and strong Anchor for our lives’. He will keep us from sinking. Let us look to Him and learn from Him: ‘Do not lay up treasures on earth... Lay up treasures in heaven’ (Hebrews 12:1-2; 6:19; 2 Timothy 2:4; Matthew 6:19-20). ‘Will your anchor hold in the storms of life...? We have an Anchor that keeps the soul , steadfast and sure while the billows roll, fastened to the Rock which cannot move, grounded firm and deep in the Saviour’s love!’ (Church Hymnary, 412).
28:1-26 - ‘You were on the holy mount of God... You were blameless in your ways... You sinned... I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God’ (14-16). This is much more than the ‘long time ago’ story of ‘the king of Tyre’ (12). Here, we catch a glimpse of ‘the spiritual forces in the heavenly realms’. We read about ‘war in heaven’. We read about the downfall of ‘Satan’. God’s Word is warning us: ‘Our struggle is not against flesh and blood’. We face a much more powerful ‘enemy’ - ‘Satan’. He ‘disguises himself as an angel of light’. We must not be fooled. He is no ‘angel of light’. He is ‘a roaring lion’. He is ‘prowling about, looking for someone to devour’. We shall overcome him ‘by the blood of the Lamb...’ (Ephesians 6:12; Revelation 12:7-9,11; 2 Corinthians 11:14; 1 Peter 5:8).
29:1-21 - In God’s dealings with Egypt, we see both His wrath - ‘Egypt will become a desolate wasteland’ - and His mercy - ‘At the end of forty years... I will restore the fortunes of Egypt’ (9,13-14). God’s wrath is His response to Egypt’s pride - ‘Because you said, “The Nile is mine; I made it”, therefore I am against you’ (9-10). In His merciful restoration, God places His restraint on Egypt’s pride - ‘It shall be the most lowly of the kingdoms, and will never again exalt itself above the other nations’ (15). We come to God as sinners. We confess our sins, praying, ‘In wrath, remember mercy’. He saves us by ‘His mercy’. His way of salvation - ‘through Jesus Christ our Saviour’ - is a constant rebuke to our pride: ‘This is not your own doing. It is the gift of God’ (Habakkuk 3:2; Titus 3:4-6; Ephesians 2:8).
30:1-26 - ‘The day of the Lord is near... A sword will come against Egypt... The day of Egypt’s doom is sure to come’ (3-4,9). We must not take God lightly. We can’t do what we like and get away with it. We must not ‘trample the Son of God under foot’. We must not ‘treat Christ’s blood as an unholy thing’. We must not ‘insult the Spirit of grace’. We must not forget: ‘It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God’. God is speaking to us concerning ‘the Day of the Lord’, the Return of Christ: ‘He who is coming will come...’. He speaks His Word of warning: ‘Those who shrink back are destroyed’. He speaks His Word of promise: ‘Those who believe are saved’ (Hebrews 10:29,31,37-39). ‘When Christ comes, will He find faith...?’. ‘Search my heart, O God...’ (Luke 18:8; Psalm 139:23-24).
31:1-18 - ‘Pharaoh, king of Egypt’ had the appearance of ‘majesty’ - ‘Who can be compared with you in majesty?’ - yet he was ‘brought down’ (2,18). There is one Majesty who will never be brought down - Our Lord Jesus Christ. He is ‘the same yesterday and today and for ever’. He will receive ‘glory for ever and ever’. To Him alone, the Father says, ‘Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever’ (Hebrews 13:8,21; 1:8). This is real Majesty! ‘Majesty, worship His Majesty. Unto Jesus be glory, honour and praise. Majesty, Kingdom authority, flows from His throne unto His own. His anthem raise. So exalt, lift up on high the Name of Jesus. Magnify, come glorify, Christ Jesus the King. Majesty, worship His Majesty, Jesus who died, now glorified, King of all kings’ (Mission Praise, 454).
32:1-32 - ‘Pride goes before destruction’ (Proverbs 16:18). ‘Pharaoh, king of Egypt’ was arrogant and ruthless: ‘You are like a lion among the nations; you are like a monster in the seas, thrashing about in your streams, churning the water with your feet and muddying the streams’ (2). Soon, it would be ‘the day of his downfall’: ‘The sword of Babylon will come against you... Pharaoh and all his hordes will be killed by the sword’ (10-11,32). Don’t be like the rich fool - ‘You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry’. He couldn’t have been more wrong! - ‘God said to him, ‘You fool! I will demand your life from you tonight!”’ God is warning us: ‘This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich towards God’ (Luke 12:19-21).
33:1-33 - Ezekiel was to be ‘a watchman for the house of Israel’: ‘whenever you hear a Word from My mouth, you shall give them warning from Me’. He was to ‘warn the wicked to turn from his way’ (7-9). This is the warning of love. God loves us. It is because He loves that He ‘has no pleasure in the death of the wicked’. In His love, He shows us our sin so that we might come to Him with a real confession of sin: ‘Our sins are upon us’. In His love, He creates in us a desire for His salvation: ‘How then can we live?’. In His love, He calls us to return to Him: ‘Turn back from your evil ways’. He loves us. He does not want us to ‘die’: ‘Why will you die?’ (10-11). In love, God shows us our sin - ‘The wages of sin is death’ - and calls us to receive His ‘free gift’ - ‘eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord’ (Romans 6:23).
34:1-31 - God speaks to us in love. He says, ‘I Myself will be the Shepherd of My sheep’ (15). We rejoice in His love. We say, ‘The Lord is my Shepherd’ (Psalm 23:1). Jesus is our Shepherd. He is ‘the good Shepherd’. He laid down His life for us that we might receive the forgiveness of our sins. ‘Christ died for our sins’. He - ‘the Righteous’ - died for us - ‘the unrighteous’ - ‘to bring us to God’ (John 10:11; 1 Corinthians 15:3; 1 Peter 3:18). He is ‘the great Shepherd’. He was ‘raised’ from the dead’. Through His resurrection, we receive eternal life. He says to us, ‘Because I live you will live also’ (Hebrews 13:20-21; 1 Corinthians 15:4; John 14:19). He is ‘the chief Shepherd’. He will come again with ‘the unfading crown of glory’ for His ‘good and faithful servants’ (1 Peter 5:4; Matthew 25:21).
35:1-15 - ‘You will be desolate, O Mount Seir, you and all of Edom. Then they will know that I am the Lord’ (15). The people of Edom knew the Lord as their Judge. There is a much better way of knowing the Lord. We can know Him as our Saviour. Those who refuse to come to Jesus Christ, trusting in Him as Saviour, place themselves under God’s judgment. They are ‘condemned already because they have not believed in the Name of God’s one and only Son’. They will know the Lord as their Judge - but they could have known Him as their Saviour if they had submitted to God’s saving purpose for their lives: ‘God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him’ (John 3:17-18). Each of us must choose. Do you know Christ as Saviour, or will you face Him as Judge?
36:1-38 - ‘I will look on you with favour’ (9). Through Christ our Saviour, God looks upon us with favour. Here are some words which will help you to rejoice in the ‘wonderful grace of Jesus’ which is ‘greater than all my sin’, the ‘wonderful grace of Jesus’ which ‘reaches me’. ‘Let me introduce you to a friend called Grace. Doesn’t care about your past or your many mistakes. He’ll cover your sins in a warm embrace. Let me introduce to a friend called Grace’. ‘His grace reaches lower than your worst mistake and His love will run further than you can run away’. ‘He believes in lost causes when common sense would just give up. He believes in lost causes and changes people with His love. There’s nobody too far gone, no one beyond His reach. He believes in lost causes ‘cause He believed in me’. Let Jesus be your Joy!
37:1-28 - It was ‘a valley of dry bones’ (1-2). Then, the Lord changed everything - ‘I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live’ (5). What a difference the Lord makes! ‘Breathe on me, Breath of God. Fill me with life anew’ (Church Hymnary, 103). What happens when the Spirit of the Lord breathes new life into the Church of God? - ‘The Church that seemed in slumber has now risen from its knees and dry bones are responding with the fruits of new birth’. ‘Holy Spirit, we welcome You. Let the breeze of Your presence flow that Your children here might truly know how to move in the Spirit’s flow... Holy Spirit, we welcome You. Please accomplish in us today some new work of loving grace, we pray. Unreservedly, have Your way. Holy Spirit, we welcome You’ (Mission Praise, 274,241).
38:1-23 - We read here of God’s judgment upon ‘Gog from the land of Magog’: ‘When Gog attacks the land of Israel, My hot anger will be aroused... I will execute judgment upon him...’ (1,18,22). The names ‘Gog and Magog’ are also found in Revelation 20:7-10. There, we read of rebellion against God - ‘They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people...’ - and God’s judgment - ‘Fire came down from heaven and consumed them’. In this divine judgment upon ‘Gog and Magog’, we see the Lord’s final triumph over ‘Satan’: ‘The devil who had deceived Gog and Magog was thrown into the lake of fire and sulphur’ to be ‘tormented day and night for ever and ever’. ‘Hallelujah! Our Lord God Almighty reigns’ (Revelation 19:6).
39:1-29 - Gog’s defeat points forward to Satan’s final defeat (1-6; Revelation 20:10). We look ahead to God’s final victory over Satan. While we’re here on earth, we must never forget that Satan is a very powerful enemy. He will do all that he can to make us sin against the Lord. We see this in the life of God’s people, Israel. They allowed Satan to get the upper hand - and God was not pleased with them: ‘The nations shall know that the people of Israel went into captivity for their sin, because they were unfaithful to Me’(23). God’s Word assures us that - even when Satan has gained the upper hand - , we can be ‘brought back’ to the place of blessing. God will ‘have mercy’ on us. He will ‘pour out His Spirit’ upon us (25,29). ‘Restore us, O God...’ (Psalm 85:4).
40:1-49 - God was revealing Himself to Ezekiel. ‘The hand of the Lord was upon’ him. He received ‘visions of God’ (1-2). Ezekiel was not to keep this revelation to himself: ‘Tell the house of Israel everything you see’ (4). We are to learn from ‘the prophets who spoke in the Name of the Lord’. Like them, we are to seek to bring ‘sinners’ back to the Lord, showing them ‘the error of their ways’ and pointing them to God’s way of salvation. This work is to be done prayerfully, never forgetting that ‘the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective’ (James 5:10,16,19-20). God promises great blessing to those who are faithful in this work of winning others for Him: ‘Those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars for ever and ever’ (Daniel 12:3).
41:1-42:20 - ‘This is the Most Holy Place’ (41:4). Here, God is speaking about the Temple. The Temple was the place where God’s people were to gather together to worship Him. There is another ‘holy place’, another place where God is to be glorified: ‘Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit... Glorify God in your body’ (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). We worship God when we are in the place of worship. That is only a part of our worship. Our heart is to be a ‘holy place’ where God alone is worshipped. We are to worship Him in everything we do: ‘Be holy in all you do’. At the heart of our worship, there is thanksgiving for God’s love. At the heart of the holy life, there is love. We ‘obey the truth’ when we ‘love one another deeply from the heart’ (1 Peter 1:15-16,22).
43:1-27 - This is not only about the glory of the Temple. It’s about ‘the glory of the God of Israel’. This is the greater glory - ‘the glory of the Lord filled the Temple’ (1,5). God is not only concerned about the creation of a beautiful place of worship. He wants our lives to be ‘radiant with His glory’. This happens when ‘the Spirit lifts us up’ and brings us close to God - ‘into the inner court’ (2,5). We pray that the glory of the Lord will fill the place of worship: ‘May the fragrance of Jesus fill this place’. We pray that ‘the glory of Jesus’ will ‘fill His Church’. We are not only praying for God’s glory in the place of worship. We are praying for His glory in our lives: ‘May the beauty of Jesus fill my life... Fill my thoughts, my words, my deeds’ (Mission Praise, 462).
44:1-31 - ‘I looked and saw the glory of the Lord filling the Temple of the Lord...’ (4). We look to the Lord and, catching a glimpse of His glory, ‘we become more and more like Him’. He is leading us out of our life of sin, a life that ‘falls short of His glory’, and into His life of salvation, a life of ‘being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory’ (2 Corinthians 3:18; Romans 3:23). We have not yet arrived at our full deliverance from sin: ‘When He appears, we shall be like Him’ (1 John 3:2). As we await our Lord’s return, let us keep on praying: ‘Change my heart, O God... May I be like You’.‘Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full on His wonderful face and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace’. (Mission Praise, 69,712).
45:1-25 - We read here of ‘the sin offerings, cereal offerings, burnt offerings, and peace offerings, to make atonement for the house of Israel’ (17). All of this points forward to the single Sacrifice for sin made by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ: ‘Christ died for sins once for all, the Righteous for the unrighteous, to bring us to God’ (1 Peter 3:18). ‘We have been forgiven and made clean through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all’ (Hebrews 10:10). This is what we must see here. We must learn to look beyond the many sacrifices to the one Sacrifice: ‘Christ has offered one Sacrifice for sins, an offering that is effective for ever’. Let us rejoice in our Saviour: ‘He is able for all time to save those who draw near to God through Him’ (Hebrews 10:12; 7:25).
46:1-24 - We read here about the ‘offering’ of ‘a lamb without defect’. This was to happen ‘morning by morning’ (13). From these offerings, we look on to another Offering, ‘a single Offering’, the ‘once for all’ Offering of Jesus Christ as ‘the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world’. Jesus Christ - the Lamb of God - has ‘offered for all time a single Sacrifice for sins’ (John 1:29; Hebrews 10:10,12,14). As we read about the many lambs, we hear God’s voice calling out to us, directing our attention to our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: ‘Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world’ (John 1:36). ‘Christ’ is ‘our Passover Lamb’. He ‘has been sacrificed’ for us. Through His ‘precious blood’, we are ‘redeemed’ (1 Corinthians 5:7; 1 Peter 1:18-19).
47:1-23 - Here, we see the rising of the ‘river’ of God’s blessing - ‘ankle-deep... knee-deep... up to the waist ... deep enough to swim in - a river that no-one could cross’ (3-5). This is the river of ‘life’ - ‘a great number of trees.... Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows... large numbers of fish because... where the river flows everything will live’ (7-9). ‘The Spirit’ brings ‘rivers of living water’ into our lives (John 7:38-39). Don’t settle for a shallow experience of God’s blessing - ‘ankle-deep’, ‘knee-deep’. ‘Deep calls to deep’. Let ‘the Spirit’ lead you into ‘the deep things of God’. ‘Launch out into the deep’. ‘Swim’ in God’s mighty ‘river’ of blessing. ‘Be filled with the Spirit’ (3-5; Psalm 42:7; Luke 5:4; 1 Corinthians 2:10; Ephesians 5:18).
48:1-35 - ‘The Lord is there’ (35). He is with us when we gather for worship: ‘Where two or three are gathered together in My Name, there am I in the midst of them’ (Matthew 18:20). He loves to be among us when we are worshipping Him: ‘He looks down upon us, delight in His face, enjoying His children’s love, enthralled by our praise’. We are to come into the Lord’s presence with joyful praise - ‘The King is among us. His Spirit is near. Let’s draw near and worship. Let songs fill the air!’ - and reverent fear - ‘Be still, for the presence of the Lord, the Holy One, is here. Come bow before Him now with reverence and fear’ (Mission Praise, 650,50). When we leave the place of worship, let us take His promise with us: ‘I am with you always’ (Matthew 28:20).