Thursday, October 15, 2015

A fresh vision of God

<b>Sunrises</b> and sunsets of 2012 | Tropical Expat

Ezekiel 1:1-3 "Now it came about in the thirtieth year, on the fifth day of the fourth month, while I was by the river Chebar among the exiles, the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God. 2 (On the fifth of the month in the fifth year of King Jehoiachin’s exile, 3 the word of the Lordcame expressly to Ezekiel the priest, son of Buzi, in theland of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and there the hand of the Lord came upon him.)"

Have you ever had one of those days where you know in your heart and mind that you need a fresh vision of God? I've had such days and on one of them I decided to turn to the prophet Ezekiel. Ezekiel's book is interesting in that it opens up with a full-length vision of God on His throne. The prophet was situated with a group of fellow Jews who were nearly 800 miles from their homeland. Their capitol city Jerusalem had fallen to the Babylonians and they were people without a home. I am sure the future laid uncertain in their minds as they both wondered and wandered. It was a dark and bleak time. The prophet sat with these exiles along the river Chebar. In what seemed to be the middle of nowhere God literally revealed Himself. Ezekiel received a fresh vision of God at a time where he most desperately needed it. Today I want to outline the first few chapters of Ezekiel to explore what exactly He saw. 

It must be observed that the vision can be divided into three sections, based upon three key words we find in Ezekiel 1:1-3. First, Ezekiel "saw visions", hence we will see God visually in this text. Then in Ezekiel 1:3 we are told that Ezekiel heard the Word of God, hence we will hear God audibly in this vision. Then finally, in Ezekiel 1:3 we are told that Ezekiel had upon his life the "hand of God", hence we will feel God or sense God in this text. Seeing. Hearing. Sensing. These are the three movements and headings we will explore. What is equally remarkable about this vision is that it can be divided into seven parts. Both the numbers "three" and "seven" are considered numbers of significance in the Bible - both used to describe God in His infinite perfections. So with those preliminary thoughts, lets consider in brief this fresh vision of God in Ezekiel 1-3.

I. Seeing God. Ezekiel 1:1-28

a. The glory of God. 1:1-4 
b. The holiness of God. 1:5-14
c. Will of God. 1:15-21
d. Majesty of God. 1:22-25
e. Sovereignty of God. 1:26-28

Ezekiel here beholds One God Who is Hidden as the Father. God in the Person of the Father is unseen, hidden from the eyes of His creation. Only the Son has beheld the Father directly (John 1:18). Only by faith can we see Him who is unseen (see Hebrews 11). 

II. Hearing God. Ezekiel 2:1-8
Ezekiel heard the voice of God summoning and calling Him. The Father was hidden and we could say the Son was heard. This vision is similar to what Isaiah had beheld in Isaiah 6 some 150 years prior to Ezekiel. We also can note that the Apostle John some 600 years after Ezekiel saw Jesus the Son in similar fashion. Jesus is the Living Word, co-equal to the Father and is the living voice of God. When the Son came He came in human flesh. Full Deity flowed through the thin filament of His humanity and full humanity was embraced by the Person of the Divine Son. He spoke. Before he became man, He was ever God. Ezekiel, I believe, saw the Son and heard His voice in His pre-incarnate (before the flesh) existence. 

III. Experiencing God (i.e the hand of God)
Ezekiel experiences the seventh and final section of this glorious, opening vision of God. Ezekiel saw One God Who is the hidden Father and heard the visible Son. We understand in the New Testament that there is a Third Person within the Godhead - the Holy Spirit. He is the influencer who needs to be heeded. We see the Spirit working within the wheels of this vision and in the quill of Ezekiel. 

Ezekiel saw the glory, holiness, will, majesty and sovereignty of God. He heard the voice of God. In this final section He experiences, senses or feels the hand of God. He is being commissioned to communicate a hard but necessary message. A message mingled with grace and judgment, hope and warning, reminders from the past, clarity for the present and prophecies for the future. 

May we today meditate on this fresh vision of God. 

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