Friday, March 15, 2013
Scratching the Surface of Ezekiel
Scratching the Surface of Ezekiel
God's people often feel like exiles in foreign lands.
That's because so much of what it means to follow God as personified in Jesus and prescribed in Holy Scripture runs counter-culture; or as Paul wrote, "Do not allow this world to mold you in its own image. Instead, be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind. As a result, you will be able to discern what God wills and whatever God finds good, pleasing, and complete."
Again, being Godly often runs counter-culture as the Word and world don't always see things similarly.
For example, it's worldly to be all about me, myself, and mine. It's Wordy to be for others as being for Him with service above self; remembering His revelation about confirming belief by behavior: "As you do it for them, you do it for Me."
Ezekiel knew all about that.
He was exiled from the "holy land" and living among the unGodly in Babylonian captivity.
He often makes the big prophetic point that sin - rejecting God's will - leads to emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and physical captivity; so his message is consistent with all Biblical prophecy: get back to God or else.
Get back to God and experience His favor in time and beyond.
Now before going on, I've gotta admit Ezekiel - like Daniel and Revelation - isn't the easiest book to read and understand with so many symbols and visions that are really out of this world.
Still, scratching the surface of Ezekiel provides some powerful insights about relating to Him directly and relating to Him as we relate to others.
God expects us to give His Word or witness to others whether they want it/Him or not: "Whether this nation of rebels listens or refuses to listen to My message, at least they will know a prophet has visited them...It is vital you feed them My words, whether they choose to digest them or not...It doesn't matter whether they listen to you."
The parable of the sower comes to mind. We scatter the seeds of salvation all over the place. Whether those seeds hit pay dirt depends on Him and them in a predestination and volitional kinda way beyond our responsibility. We're supposed to report His Word without regard to the response. We spread the Word. The response is up to Him and them.
Parenthetically, you may want to go back to the opening paragraphs about Esther for more on the predestination/volition paradox.
Just like the parable of the sower shows, the Word is often rejected: "The people of Israel will refuse to listen to you because they refuse to listen to Me."
If we take it personally, can you imagine how He takes it?
We're just the messengers!
I can't imagine how He feels as Source, Starter, Sovereign, and Savior.
Sure, there must be sadness and anger and so much more; but the big point is rejecting Him includes forfeiting His favor: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, stoning the prophets and killing those sent to you. How often I would have gathered you together as a hen gathers her baby chicks; but you rejected Me and My best for you."
Rejecting God, of course, goes back to the garden.
Only being born again and from above can change the DNA inherited from Adam and Eve.
Only when we become more intimate with Jesus than our first parents can we become more like Christians than Adamsons.
But make no mistake about it!
Those destructive emotional, intellectual, and spiritual genes are deeply embedded within us; which is why "We all like sheep have gone our own ways."
Or as God told Ezekiel, "You are living among a rebellious lot. They have eyes, but they do not see. They have ears, but they do not hear. They are a rebellious lot."
It's like that old hymn: "Once to every man and nation comes the moment to decide...for the good or evil side..."
Again, God to Ezekiel: "It's each person's choice whether they listen. Some will listen; others will refuse because they are a rebellious lot."
It's like that big line in Monsignor: "God gives us our choices; but we, ourselves, must choose."
Choosing God taps into His favor.
Rejecting God forfeits His favor.
Matthew 25's judgment scene comes to mind; along with His revelation to Ezekiel: "I will deal with them according to the way they dealt with others..."
Again, "As you do it for them, you do it for Me."
Now listen carefully.
God always provides the path back to Him.
He asks Ezekiel, "Do you think these dry bones can live?"
Obviously, He's referring to people who have rejected Him previously.
Let's put it/Him another way.
Can people be rebirthed?
The good news from God through Ezekiel: "Prophesy to these dry bones. Tell them to listen to what I say to them...I will breathe breath into you, you will come alive..."
That's why prophets talk so much about God!
Prophets know people can be rebirthed by getting back to God!
Again, we've got to stop reading books about the book and just read the book to get closer to Him!
We've got to move from secondary sources to the Source, Starter, Sovereign, and Savior!
We've got to be primarily related to God to turn trickles into rivers of living water!
Then the dry bones can be resurrected.
Then we will be rebirthed - born again from above!
It's a matter of focusing on Him.
It's a matter of filtering our lives through Him.
It's about choosing Him.
It's/He's the only intelligent choice.
Believing is seeing; and seeing is blessed.
...to be continued...
Blessings and Love!