Editorial note: I apologize that I have not kept up very well with my schedule during the last couple of months. Unfortunately life keeps getting in the way and I have not been able to plan and write like I want to. I have allowed this to keep me from writing anyway, which is a disservice to anyone who actually reads this blog. Here lately I have been talking a lot about spiritual practices, and this seems to be an area that I am lacking development. I will re-double my efforts to write reliably, but any prayers for me would be greatly appreciated.
As we have seen in the past couple of chapter, Ezekiel experiences several visions in his ministry to the people. In this chapter, Ezekiel is prophesying directly to the people. He still sees visions, but here he is declaring the words of God that have been given to him to say. Unfortunately, this is not a good message for the people, however, there is a slight bit of hope given. God never wants to abandon His people, but sometimes they make Him do it.
Continue reading “The Book of Ezekiel: Ezekiel 11”
In this chapter, we are still continuing the vision Ezekiel receives in chapter 8. After all the death of the previous chapter, we see the scribe return to receive new orders from God. This chapter also behaves as a type of transition between the beginning of this vision, and the next part of it. This is where studying the prophets becomes difficult as we must be reading allegorically to see what is happening. We far too often desire to read Scripture literally, and as I pointed out last time, this may not always be helpful. This chapter still requires us to behave in this manner.
Continue reading “The Book of Ezekiel: Ezekiel 10”
If you are reading this book a chapter at a time, this is where it might be important to remember that chapters and verses are editorial editions added much later to Scripture. This is important to note, because normally when we see chapters in our contemporary reading, that means we are on a whole new topic. Often within Scripture that is not the case. In this week’s chapter, we see a continuation of the vision that started in the previous chapter. Without that information, you may be prone to ask a lot of wrong questions about what is happening in chapter 9.
Continue reading “The Book of Ezekiel: Ezekiel 9”
Six years into his ministry, Ezekiel is shown another vision of the Lord. This vision is of the same awe inspiring glory that Ezekiel has now already seen twice (in chapters 1 and 6). God picks him up and carries him to various places in Jerusalem, so he can see the terrible things being done by God’s people. God asks the prophet, “Young man, do you see what they’re doing, great offensive things that Yisra’el’s household are doing here, so that I shall go far from my sanctuary?” (Ezekiel 8:6, Goldingay). These things are mostly forms of idol worship: images and professing other gods. Yet after showing him the “inflammatory image, at the entrance” (Ezekiel 8:5, Goldingay), God invites Ezekiel to come in, even deeper, to see more of the evil being done.
“As the world is weary of me so am I of it”John Knox
Six times in this chapter, God asks Ezekiel if he has seen or invites him to see the evils that are in the Temple. Unfortunately, we cannot truly know or understand the problems that exist in our world without seeing them. This is not because we are unaware of the issues, but without seeing them, we have no real way of feeling them. In this chapter, Ezekiel has been on his mission for six years. I imagine that he was beginning to get weary, so God chooses to show him the evils that he and God are fighting against. God invites Ezekiel to actually look at these people. Does he see what they are doing? After he sees, what is it that he does?
In Steven Garber’s book Visions of Vocation: Common Grace for the Common Good, he asks a question over and over again “Knowing what I now know about the way the world is, what am I going to do?” This is the same question that God is asking of Ezekiel in this chapter. It is far to easy for us (the Church) to only be looking into our Bibles and thinking about God theologically. We often miss what is happening just down the street. I often find people within my own church that do not know of ways that we can interact with the world to show God’s love to it, when there is a strip club just a block away from the building. My church is even situated in an area that as one of the highest proportions of drug use in the state! Is it spiritual blindness that causes people to not see the evils of the world, or is it apatheia? When God shows you the evil things happening around you, how are you going to act? Jesus got into the mud, and walked into the most sinful places in order to love people. If we are seeking to be true disciples of Jesus, ought we do the same thing?
The last couple of chapters have been discussing the oncoming punishment that the people of Israel are to recieve. This week is no different. It is rough to read about this because it seems that we may have no hope. Chapter 4-24 of Ezekiel are all about the terrible sin of the people and the punishment that is coming because of it. However, in chapter 25 hope does come. Just like our own lives, we do not know what to do when it is bad, then we find hope. This week further’s the conversation about the punishment of sin, but I think there may be a deeper lesson in this section. Continue reading “The Book of Ezekiel: Ezekiel 7”
Continuing on the same theme as the last chapter, God is declaring punishment to Israel in the week’s chapter. It’s hard to imagine why God is spending so much time on the idea of punishment for sin, but how often do we consider what sin is? Many people may feel that because of Jesus, there is no need to dwell on sin any longer. Maybe, sin is far more damaging than we really think it is. Continue reading “The Book of Ezekiel: Ezekiel 6”
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”
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”
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”
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”