Dec28ThuDecember 28, 2017
Prophets, Vision and Perspective!!
We have been moving through the Bible at Church at the Manor as Jen has walked us through Isaiah and Jeremiah. We continue our theme with God and the Prophets as we now look at Ezekiel.
First of all I want to point out something quite interesting.
Ezekiel was by the Kebar River and at this point we are 5 years into the exile of King Johoiachin. So, they have now been in Babylon for 5 years. It was at this same time that we have Psalm 137 penned yet the perspective of Psalms is very dark, loathing and full of regret.
By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept
when we remembered Zion.
2 There on the poplars
we hung our harps,
3 for there our captors asked us for songs,
our tormentors demanded songs of joy;
they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”
4 How can we sing the songs of the Lord
while in a foreign land?
However at this very point God is giving Ezekiel an incredible vision of His glory. The word for glory here is the word “kavod” meaning a physical display of God’s presence and it’s a powerful one.
Just like Jeremiah, Ezekiel had a very difficult task to warn God’s people that they were deserting God and completely forgetting Him in their everyday life…so much so that they actually were turning to other gods and doing unthinkable worship practices following the worship of our nations.
So, God asked them to very challenging things to get the attention of the people.
Let’s look in particular at a few things that Ezekiel had to do in chapter 4
Clay tablet – He had to set up a miniature display of the city and create a scene of destruction.
Bake bread over human excrement – he actually is able to ask God to change his mind, and gets to cook wheat, barley and beans over cow manure….for 390 days while lying on his side to represent the Northern Kingdom. He then had to turn to his other side and do the exact same thing for 40 days for the Southern Kingdom. The point, food and water were going to be scarce when the nation is invaded.
It goes on at the beginning of Chapter 5 when he has to shave his head and beard….
The call on the life of a prophet wasn’t an easy one and often was met with great resistance especially when the message was a difficult one designed as a wake up call.
Kevin was a man in our previous church who had a prophetic gift. Unfortunately he wasn’t well received either even though his message was always one of blessing and encouragement. He also was socially awkward and would often cry and be right up in your personal space to give you the message.
He also did warn people too. In Sharon and my case, he made it very clear that I wasn’t to pursue a traditional church ministry again as I was looking into a church in Kitchener. I am so thankful for his prophetic messages that spoke deeply into my life.
As we look back into Ezekiel’s story there is a bright side. Ezekiel, much like Jeremiah comes full circle with a message of hope, reconciliation and deliverance. There is a future beyond exile for Israel.
Ch 34-37 Hope For Israel
There will be a new David – the Messiah, a new Israel – a new transformed people. They will receive a new heart – a heart of stone will turn to a heart of flesh that will enable them to love and obey.
There is a vision of a valley of dry bones in chapter 37 He sees skin appearing on the bones and new humans coming to life. It’s a parallel to God’s creation in Genesis 2 There will be a new act of creation where the new transformed people will act in love with each other and with creation.
Ch 38,39 Speaks of hope for the nations.
God will defeat evil. It is everything that this nation Gog represents. Gog are all the violent kingdoms of the world. This paves the way as well for a new creation.
Ch 40-48 God’s presence will return to a “new temple’. There will be a new city and Ezekiel gets a tour of this city with a new altar, new priests and a new sense of worship. The glorious chariot that Ezekiel saw in chapter 1 makes it rendezvous here as well.
The meaning of the vision of the temple is very symbolic of God’s presence with His people. It is a picture of the Garden of Eden with God’s life giving presence there. This new garden is called “The LORD is there.
It is a place full of hope for a new future, a world that is permeated with God’s love and justice. We continue to pray for God’s preferred future for the Church at the Manor as we enter a new year and are excited for what He has in store for us! Continue to pray for His leading and His Kingdom come to the Manor in 2018!