In the last chapter of Ezekiel, we saw how God had him begin his ministry. Ezekiel stood before the people of Jerusalem and behaved rather oddly, to show how God was going to punish them for their rebellious behavior. In this chapter Ezekiel gets to continue his odd behavior, but it comes with continued warning of wrath against the people of Israel. Continue reading “The Book of Ezekiel: Ezekiel 5”
I had a conversation with a professor of mine, where he asked what I thought the program was all about since I am almost done. My response was, “It helps me know how to practice my faith.” After reading a post from Richard Foster this morning, I began thinking that this may have been slightly wrong. It is so much more than merely practicing my faith, it is a total orientation of my life.
This morning I read a blog post about the future of the Spiritual Formation movement from Renovaré. Currently, one of my majors is in Christian Spiritual Formation, so naturally my ears perked up. I had a conversation with a professor of mine, where he asked what I thought the program was all about since I am almost done (graduation December 2019!). My response was, “It helps me know how to practice my faith.” After reading this post this morning, I began thinking that this may have been slightly wrong. It is so much more than merely practicing my faith, it is a total orientation of my life. Continue reading “So What is Spiritual Formation?”
In the last post in this series, we saw how Ezekiel was called by God, and what the call actually meant for him. In this week’s chapter, God continues his commands for Ezekiel’s ministry, but it does not go the way many people might expect. Rather than yelling into the void, Ezekiel is called to adopt some extreme behavior in order to show case the behaviors of God and His people. Continue reading “The Book of Ezekiel: Ezekiel 4”
So something happened this week that has not happened since I took this blog back up; I didn’t have time for it. Over the past couple of years I have found myself becoming increasingly busy, as I am a full time employee, full time student, part time worship leader, and still need to find a way to be a husband and father. My school work became a little intense last week, which did not leave me much time to get anything done. Now that I’m on the other side, I find myself curious about busyness. I have had lots of people, recently, exclaim to me “Wow! You’re busy.” However, I’m not so much worried about what people think (except for my wife), but I am curious as to what God has to say to us about being busy. Continue reading “On Busyness”
Today is the first day of Lent, a season where many Christians choose to fast from something and spend time in prayer to prepare for the celebration of Easter. As a part of this fast, many Christians also choose to spend focused time in the reading and studying of Scripture. The book I chose for this month will help fill that role. It is The First Testament: A New Translation by John Goldingay from InterVarsity Press. This book came out in September of last year, and I am fairly certain that is how long I have had it and been using it. Goldingay is an Old Testament scholar and current faculty member of Fuller Theological Seminary. He has several other writing credits to his name including An Introduction to the Old Testament, Do We Need the Old Testament?, and The Theology of the Book of Isaiah. However this book is different from the other books he has written as it is a translation of the Old Testament. In this translation, Goldingay seeks to catch the reader off balance by pointing towards the way the Hebrew language works. This is most notable in his translation of pronouns as they are transliterated and not made like an English reader would read it: יחזקאל become Yehezqe’l rather than Ezekiel.
“On the fifth of the month (it was the fifth year of King Yoyakin’s exile), Yahweh’s word came to Yehezqe’l be Buzi, the priest, in the country of the Kasdites by the River Kebar. Yahweh’s hand came on him there.”
— Ezekiel 1:2-3, Goldingay
Like many modern translations of the Bible, Goldingay provides introductions for each book, so the reader can fully understand what a particular section of Scripture is. However, unlike many modern translations, the language can become a clunky as Goldingay is doing as much as he can to keep the cadences and textures of the Hebrew language. This does not usually translate well to English. I will say that I have greatly appreciated this, though, as I have been studying the Hebrew language over the last year. I have found myself working through a passage in my Hebrew text, trying to compare my translation to an English translation, and checking Goldingay to see how we might get from Hebrew to English. However, occasionally something is a little different that might seem odd. For instance, Goldingay translates the traditional “valley of the shadow of death” found in Psalm 23 as “a deathly dark ravine.” I am not sure his translation packs the same punch, but it does still work to paint a picture.
“My shepherd being Yahweh, I don’t lack;
he enables me to lie down in grassy pastures.
He leads me to settled water;
he turns my life back.
He guides me in faithful tracks
for the sake of his name.
Even when I walk in a deathly dark ravine,
I’m not afraid of bad fortune,
Because you’re with me;
your club and your cane — they comfort me.”
— Psalm 23:1-4, Goldingay
If you have been following my study through Ezekiel, you will have noticed that I have been using this translation. I personally enjoy reading it and regularly use it when I am studying Hebrew texts. Goldingay has taken great care to provide something unique for the world. I still keep my trusty NASB at my side, but I have been finding it helpful to see how a well known Old Testament scholar would better understand the Hebrew Scriptures. I think this is a good resource for anyone to use when studying, but I would probably hesitate when it came to preaching and teaching. The language and unfamiliar translation techniques can be hard for your average person in the pew to understand. I do highly recommend this resource and am happy it is on my shelf!
The first few chapters of the Book of Ezekiel describe his being called by God to be a prophet. So far, it has been mostly focused on God’s revealing His glory to Ezekiel. This would not be much of a call story without God giving Ezekiel instruction on the path that lies ahead of him. This week we see God give those instructions, and how Ezekiel reacts. Continue reading “The Book of Ezekiel: Ezekiel 3”
Last week the full glory of God was on display in the first chapter of Ezekiel. God met the man that He would rise up as a prophet where he was, down by the river. When he saw God’s glory, Ezekiel prostrated himself and worshiped the Lord. In this week’s chapter, God sends Ezekiel on his mission to bring the Israelites back to Him. It is a short chapter, but I believe there is still something we can get out of these 10 verses. Continue reading “The Book of Ezekiel: Ezekiel 2”
Apparently I need some more discipline in my life as I’ve missed a couple of these posts!
The last couple of posts I did regarding, spiritual disciplines, were all about giving something up. First, it was about living a simple life of modesty so you could live in such a way that you could be a blessing to others. Then, it became about fasting and teaching your body and mind to live in a way that was focused on God. This post is not about giving something up. Spiritual disciplines are about training, and that doesn’t mean to cut everything away. Ask any athlete what training is like, and it will sound like a lot of adding onto what they are already doing. Continue reading “Serving Others and Worshiping God”
As I said last week, we are now starting a study over the book of Ezekiel. Most of the books of the major prophets (Isaiah-Daniel) begin with a call from God for their ministry. These first few chapters deal with that very call upon Ezekiel. God shows up in all his glory by a river to inform Ezekiel, he is meant for a greater purpose. Ezekiel’s life changes forever next to that river. I guess that’s what happens when you answer the call. Continue reading “The Book of Ezekiel: Ezekiel 1”
Since the Heart Man Blog started back up, we have now finished our first study. Since our first study was on the Gospel of John, I thought it would be great to go to a book of the Bible that is in the Old Testament. Beginning this week we will begin to study the book of Ezekiel. This will be slightly different from the Gospel of John, as the genre of this writing is different. Ezekiel is a piece of prophetic literature, which means that we will see passages containing cosmic visions and other things that we will need God’s help to truly understand. Continue reading “Intro to the Book of Ezekiel”