Monday, 23 January 2012

Route 66 Through The Year: Ezekiel 1:1-28

Spring Harvest’s ‘Route 66 Through the Year’ is designed to take readers on a tour through each of the 66 books of the Bible over the course of a year, with each day’s reading featuring a short passage and comment written by a variety of Spring Harvest speakers.

I have contributed notes for this week on Ezekiel, looking today at 1:1-28.

Read: Ezekiel 1:1-28

It’s no surprise that many of us find Ezekiel puzzling if not daunting, especially given the length of the book, its bizarre passages, and the strangeness of the prophet himself. But there are two very good reasons for reading Ezekiel’s prophecy: (1) because of the situation in which he spoke, and (2) because of the God of whom he spoke.

The occasion was the exile of God’s people to Babylon (1:1-3). With exile came the loss of identity and security – land, temple, kingship – but the opportunity to renew their faith and hope in God himself. Ezekiel speaks powerfully to ‘exiles’ today, but he does so only because of what he says about God. The Lord repeatedly tells Ezekiel that he was acting – first in judgment, then in restoration – so that his people would know he was the Lord.

The book is best understood through a series of visions, the first of which occurs in 1:4-28. Ezekiel sees a vision of God’s throne (1:26), reminiscent of the ark of the covenant – except the wheels (1:15-21) make it clear that this is not so much a royal throne as a royal chariot, which moves wherever the Spirit wants it to!

The temple was left standing in Jerusalem, but God could visit the exiles in Babylon, and call Ezekiel (chs. 2-3) to bring the challenge and comfort they would need away from home.

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