November 12, 2007

Ezekiel 1-3 - Wheels and Rims

From today's Bible reading:

Ezekiel 1:

In the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month, as I was among the exiles by the Chebar canal, the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God.

On the fifth day of the month (it was the fifth year of the exile of King Jehoiachin), the word of the LORD came to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the Chebar canal, and the hand of the LORD was upon him there.


Now as I looked at the living creatures, I saw a wheel on the earth beside the living creatures, one for each of the four of them.

And the four had the same likeness, their appearance and construction being as it were a wheel within a wheel.

When they went, they went in any of their four directions without turning as they went.

And their rims were tall and awesome, and the rims of all four were full of eyes all around.

And when the living creatures went, the wheels went beside them; and when the living creatures rose from the earth, the wheels rose.

Wherever the spirit wanted to go, they went, and the wheels rose along with them, for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels. When those went, these went; and when those stood, these stood; and when those rose from the earth, the wheels rose along with them, for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.

Over the heads of the living creatures there was the likeness of an expanse, shining like awe-inspiring crystal, spread out above their heads. And under the expanse their wings were stretched out straight, one toward another. And each creature had two wings covering its body.

And when they went, I heard the sound of their wings like the sound of many waters, like the sound of the Almighty, a sound of tumult like the sound of an army.

When they stood still, they let down their wings.

And there came a voice from above the expanse over their heads.

When they stood still, they let down their wings.

And above the expanse over their heads there was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like sapphire; and seated above the likeness of a throne was a likeness with a human appearance.

And upward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw as it were gleaming metal, like the appearance of fire enclosed all around.

And downward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and there was brightness around him.

Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around.

Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD.

And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of one speaking.

Ezekiel 2:

And he said to me, Son of man, stand on your feet, and I will speak with you.

And as he spoke to me, the Spirit entered into me and set me on my feet, and I heard him speaking to me.

(He tells us to do something and then enables us to do it.)

And he said to me, Son of man, I send you to the people of Israel, to nations of rebels, who have rebelled against me. They and their fathers have transgressed against me to this very day. The descendants also are impudent and stubborn.

I send you to them, and you shall say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD.

And whether they hear or refuse to hear (for they are a rebellious house) they will know that a prophet has been among them.

And you, son of man, be not afraid of them, nor be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns are with you and you sit on scorpions. Be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, for they are a rebellious house.

And you shall speak my words to them, whether they hear or refuse to hear, for they are a rebellious house.

But you, son of man, hear what I say to you. Be not rebellious like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you.

And when I looked, behold, a hand was stretched out to me, and behold, a scroll of a book was in it. And he spread it before me. And it had writing on the front and on the back, and there were written on it words of lamentation and mourning and woe.

Ezekiel 3:

And he said to me, Son of man, eat whatever you find here. Eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel.

So I opened my mouth, and he gave me this scroll to eat.

And he said to me, Son of man, feed your belly with this scroll that I give you and fill your stomach with it.

Then I ate it, and it was in my mouth as sweet as honey.

And he said to me, Son of man, go to the house of Israel and speak with my words to them. For you are not sent to a people of foreign speech and a hard language, but to the house of Israel—not to many peoples of foreign speech and a hard language, whose words you cannot understand.

(There's a place for missions to the homeland.)

Son of man, all my words that I shall speak to you receive in your heart, and hear with your ears. And go to the exiles, to your people, and speak to them and say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD, whether they hear or refuse to hear.

("But they won't listen to me" is no excuse. It doesn't matter. We are to preach the Word anyway! Them not believing is the reason for preaching in the first place.)

Then the Spirit lifted me up, and I heard behind me the voice of a great earthquake: Blessed be the glory of the LORD from its place!

It was the sound of the wings of the living creatures as they touched one another, and the sound of the wheels beside them, and the sound of a great earthquake.

The Spirit lifted me up and took me away, and I went in bitterness in the heat of my spirit, the hand of the LORD being strong upon me.

And I came to the exiles at Tel-abib, who were dwelling by the Chebar canal, and I sat where they were dwelling.

And I sat there overwhelmed among them seven days.

And at the end of seven days, the word of the LORD came to me:

Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me.

If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand.

But if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall die for his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul.

Again, if a righteous person turns from his righteousness and commits injustice, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die. Because you have not warned him, he shall die for his sin, and his righteous deeds that he has done shall not be remembered, but his blood I will require at your hand.

(Wherever missions may be, this is motivation to preach! Like the fire burning in Jeremiah when he cannot keep quiet.)

But if you warn the righteous person not to sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live, because he took warning, and you will have delivered your soul.

And the hand of the LORD was upon me there. And he said to me, Arise, go out into the valley, and there I will speak with you.

So I arose and went out into the valley, and behold, the glory of the LORD stood there, like the glory that I had seen by the Chebar canal, and I fell on my face.

But the Spirit entered into me and set me on my feet, and he spoke with me and said to me, Go, shut yourself within your house. And you, O son of man, behold, cords will be placed upon you, and you shall be bound with them, so that you cannot go out among the people.

And I will make your tongue cling to the roof of your mouth, so that you shall be mute and unable to reprove them, for they are a rebellious house.

But when I speak with you, I will open your mouth, and you shall say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD.

He who will hear, let him hear; and he who will refuse to hear, let him refuse, for they are a rebellious house.

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