September: Eye-Exam: Is the God you see too small and too safe?
Ezekiel rarely makes it into anyone's Top 10 Favorite Books of the Bible list! The imagery and message can be very challenging. Even one of the early Church Fathers, Jerome, writing at the end of the 4th Century, commented: "As for Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel, who can fully understand or adequately explain them? … The beginning and ending of Ezekiel, the third of the four, are involved in so great obscurity that like the commencement of Genesis they are not studied by the Hebrews until they are thirty years old."
So why challenge yourself by reading Ezekiel? Read Ezekiel to be challenged by God's sovereignty... read Ezekiel to be humbled by our sin... read Ezekiel to be sobered by God's judgment... read Ezekiel to see how God announces His intention to restore and bless.
Whereas Isaiah eloquently exposits the global rule, grandeur, and wonder of God, Ezekiel "drills down" and specifically addresses Israel within the context of His passionate relationship with His people. God will not turn a blind eye to the sin of His people chosen to communicate and express His glory... If they will not express God's glory through faithfulness, then they will express it by His judgement... a sobering reminder to all of us who cherish and desire to be known as God's people.
Finally, we read Ezekiel because he is the prophet of the Holy Spirit. He speaks of the power of the Spirit from both personal experience and in light of God's national promise. Here we see the Holy Spirit presented as the agent of prophetic inspiration, revelation, God's empowering and renewing presence, and as the sign of God's ownership of His people.
Ezekiel presents us with prophetic expectation for the Person and Gospel of Jesus. Here we see shadows and shades of the Fulfillment to come... and we are reminded that the reality we know in Jesus is greater than the anticipation. Be blessed by a challenging month in Ezekiel!
NOTE: I have uploaded to our website a simple introduction to Ezekiel which you might find helpful...