Man’s Idolatry

Ezekiel’s vision wasn’t so much against what was happening in the temple, but what was happening in people’s lives. Israel’s idolatry may not have been obvious, it’s more likely to have been hidden. If we were sitting with Ezekiel in that house in Babylon, hoping to hear from God. What would he be saying to us? Certainly, on the face of it everything may look OK. Our temple: our life may be good on the surface, no problems; no issues. What lies beneath?

God’s Judgement

We are incredibly good at quoting Psalm 46:10, ‘Be still and know that I am God.’ What are expecting when we know God. Are we expecting God to make us feel better, a warm pleasant reassurance? Certainly, we know God through his love and compassion. We also know God through the pain we inflict on him because of our sin. We know God because of his judgement. How often do we feel the injustice of hunger, poverty, inequality, sectarianism, racism, sexism? Do we feel the pain of war, terror or bullying? Do we feel it enough to act? Do we feel it as God feels it?

God’s Call

When God told Ezekiel to stand, it wasn’t the same as us being told to please be seated. This wasn’t humility on God’s part. This was an invitation for Ezekiel to be a conscious participant in God’s concern for his people; a call to be ready to act on God’s behalf. God doesn’t call us to be spectators in his plan. He calls us to action; to stand and be counted. To understand how God is concerned for his people and to share that concern in a way that moves us to action.

The glory returns

Today’s passage is Ezekiel 43-48

This morning we finish our daily reflections in the book of Ezekiel. I hope you have enjoyed your time with Ezekiel and been able to get a flavour for what this incredible book teaches us. Ezekiel has taken us on an incredible journey. The book began near the Kebar river where Ezekiel was sitting with other exiles from Jerusalem.

It was there that Ezekiel saw the glory of the Lord, but it was also there he saw the glory of the Lord departing the temple; the destruction of Jeruslaem and all the sins of the people that led to God’s anger.

Ezekiel has shown us the depth of pain our betrayal and rejection of God has caused. If there is anything to learn from Ezekiel it is the incredible seriousness of our sin. The cost of it to ourselves and others. It is worth noting how God’s wrath was poured out on the community – my sin affects those around me, as does yours. Ezekiel teaches us that sin is no trifling matter.

But notice also how Ezekiel does not leave us languishing in our sin. He does not leave us in the horror of exile or the pain of separation to God. The book of Ezekiel brings us full circle. We are given an incredibly detailed description of a new city and temple replacing the city and temple destroyed in God’s wrath. The wonder of this new city is in the final words of Ezekiel.

The Lord is There

Ezekiel 48:35

Is this not the story of the gospel? Is the story of the gospel not the story of a group of exiles, you and me, separated from the holy city God created for us, Eden? In that exile we see the glory of the Lord departing from our lives. With each further descent into sin that glory of God appears more and more distant resulting in the inevitable death we all must face.

Yet we are not left in despair, death or separation from God. Jesus Christ has come into our world; he has atoned for our sin and through him we are returned to that place our sin sent us into exile from. We see again the glory of God as we are promised not just a new city, but a new heaven and a new earth.

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

Revelation 21:1-3

How do we take hold of this promise? The answer lies in Ezekiel’s words to the people of Judah & Jerusalem.

Therefore say to the people of Israel, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: repent! Turn from your idols and renounce all your detestable practices!

Ezekiel 14:6

Prayer Father, I thank you for the new life I find in Jesus Christ. Forgive me for all I have done that caused my separation and alienation from you. Forgive me for everything I have done that placed Jesus on the cross. Yet I thank you it is because Jesus went to the cross that I can have this new life; the promise of being part of that new heaven and earth where you dwell with me. Lord, may I never lose sight of this incredible prize, privilege and promise. Amen