Posted by: richard | 4 November, 2009

The God Of Glory

Yesterday we begun a six-week tour of Ezekiel, focusing on chapters 1-3.   This covers Ezekiel’s vision of the majesty and glory of God.  We covered a lot of ground so what follows is a summary only:

Ezekiel’s Vision

The best way to describe this is probably to watch the following video of Chapter 1:

Ezekiel was amongst the exiles in Babylon.  They must have been depressed, defeated, fearful, helpless and hopeless and wondering whether God was weaker than the Babylonian gods, or whether He had abandoned them.

Into this situation, and in enemy territory, Ezekiel sees his vision of God.  The vision is full of symbols of God’s might, glory and holiness. The wheels show that God is not confined to the physical land of Israel.  The eyes in the wheel remind us that God sees the plight of his people. The movement of the creatures shows that God’s rule extends over all the earth and his plans advance and never retreat.

An encounter with the Almighty Living God leaves Ezekiel face down… as it should us too.   When we start with this awareness of the majesty of God, our prayers will becomes less me-centred, our meetings will have reverence and awe added to the mix, our evangelism will be less “God as a consumer item” and more focused on presenting God in all His glory.

Ezekiel’s Call

Ezekiel receives a call to prophesy, but is told that people will not respond, and that God will harden Ezekiel to cope with this rejection.  Not the most motivational of callings!

We explored how people’s rejection of God’s word is not generally a question of belief, but a question of people not wanting to obey God’s word (see Ezekiel 3:6, Psalm 14:1 or Romans1:18-25). A problem of the heart rather than the head.

So evangelism is not really a question of persuading people or using clever arguments:  a faithful life will be more persuasive since it challenges that natural instinct to rebel against God.  Our job is to faithfully reflect in our deeds and articulate in our words the majesty, glory and grace of our awesome and holy God: as 1 Cor 2:1-5 says, we are to set forth the truth plainly and proclaim Jesus as Lord.  It is God’s job to soften hearts and work His purposes out.

Ezekiel’s call reminds us that God is used to rebellion, to hard hearts, and to being rejected.  So our situation and cultural challenges are not a novelty.  May we share Ezekiel’s understanding of the majesty of God to keep us faithful to God’s word in our own time…

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  1. A postscript regarding Ezekiel’s vision, taken from the very good “Bible Speaks Today” commentary on Ezekiel I ordered:

    “Ezekiel…hijacks the Babylonian juggernaut and turns it into a vehicle for conveying the sovereign glory of Yahweh…. His description of the four-headed, winged cherubim would have been familiar to any inhabitant of ancient Mesopotamia surrounded by the great statues of tutelary deities guarding temple entrances and other polymorphous sky-bearing creatures that supported the thrones of the deities. Ezekiel has taken the static Mesopotamian imagery and transformed it, mainly by the addition of wheels, hands and eyes, and the prevailing Spirit of Yahweh, into a dynamic portrayal of the sovereign, roving freedom of Yahweh. Yahweh’s presence, power and glory were in Babylon,could take on and yet transcend Bablyonian symbolism, and could beeven more overwhelming in effect than all the Bablyoniam statuary put together!”

    I wonder what images of 21st century ‘gods’ Yahweh would want to subvert in a modern-day Ezekiel vision? Would it be an image of a man on a throne; supported by an expanse upon which are inscribed logos of all companies; sitting atop pillars of Canary Wharf, La Defense, The Empire State Building, and Burj Dubai; surrounded by a mesh of interconnected computer servers; with F-22 ‘Raptor’ fighter jets circling around; in a storm of bank notes? All atop wheels with eyes and infused with the Spirit of Yahweh of course! I don’t know, but it is interesting to update the imagery a little…


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