Ezekiel 1:1-4; 15-25; 1:28-2:1-7
1st: Play the song ‘Ezekiel Saw the Wheel’
-Introduce myself. Name the song, who sang it.
• Finished Series on Love; Now, Tonight start our series on the Faith of the Prophets
• Hebrews 11:1-2 (on power point) [slide]
• Before God revealed Himself through His Son Jesus Christ, God spoke to Israel and the world through the prophets. Hebrews 1:1-2 [slide]
• 1 of these prophets of God, who we will be learning about tonight is the Prophet Ezekiel.
• Who is Ezekiel? Ezekiel 1:1-4 [slide] Exile in Babylon. His friends, family, and even King Nebuchadnezzar who put him into captivity, expected Ezekiel to serve them as a priest, but God had other plans. Book of Numbers tells us that at 30 years of age the priests (levites) were allowed to enter and serve the temple, so they were expected to have visions and dreams from God.
• God is Spirit, and therefore, invisible, and so in the Old Testament, God communicates through visions, dreams, and sometimes even animals, and burning bushes too.
• The first of four visions says everything. This is a new idea! Ezekiel 1:15-25 [slide]
• No Israelite or Judean had ever imagined that God would leave the temple! No, not one! But Ezekiel did see God’s presence leave (Chapter 11)
• Ezekiel, as another example, says and does things that have never have been done before, for ex., for 390 days, he laid on his left side to represent what was going to happen to Israel. Ate special bread.
• Hand out Ezekiel Bread!
• But the image in chapters 1 and 2 set it up: It is as if God is the president flying in on Marine One (presidential helicopter) and Ezekiel is an ordinary citizen in awe at God’s arrival. God is mobile, God is king of the universe, God is with the Israelites in exile, and not with those at the temple in Jerusalem.
• A lot of speculation behind the meaning of Ezekiel’s vision; in fact, I ran into a church member, who told me in all seriousness, that Christians were stupid because they did not believe that Ezekiel saw a spaceship. My friend Chris and I somehow managed to keep our faces straight. (Delorian from Back to the Future movie trilogy)
• Some of the earliest Christians, such as Jerome and Gregory the Great believed that the man on the throne-chariot was Jesus Christ, with the four living creatures standing for the four gospels.
• Where does the idea come from, God as king, on a throne? The temple. Ezekiel is a priest (someone who represents worshippers before God, chosen by his father); God chose him to be a prophet however. God is not literally a king like King Nebuchadnezzar or King David, and neither is any human king like God; this is a vision; so God revealed Himself to Ezekiel as LORD of all of Creation; the living creatures with the four faces and four wings, may represent all of creation from the four corners of the world.
• We do not have to speculate; Ezekiel gives a clue to understanding about what the chariot moves because of the Winds sent by God, and there are clouds, and thunder. Ezekiel may be referring to the Exodus story, where God first redeems Israel. When Moses receives 10 commandments, God speaks to him in a thunderstorm cloud. Exodus 19:9, 16-19, 20:18-19. Ezekiel is reminding us that the God who is speaking to him in Babylon is the same God who rescued the Israelites from Pharaoh.
• After all these amazing visual effects, God finally speaks to Ezekiel. Ezekiel 1:28-2:7 [slide]. Israelites will not like to hear what Ezekiel has to say. In fact, Ezekiel, has bad news for the Israelites, the Babylonians, and all the rest of Israel’s enemies. He is like the male version of a Debbie downer. You know, the friend who, just when something good happens to you or one of your friends, has to say something negative. The difference is for Ezekiel is that he is explaining to the Israelites why this tragedy has happened to them so that they can repent, and get into right relationship with God.
• Faith is, knowing and remembering our story is important. Just as Ezekiel was called to remind Israel that God rescued them from Egypt and He would do the same in Babylon, we must be reminded from time to time, as Christians, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ
• We must be open to God’s ways. Even if God’s plan seems strange or unusual. Everyone wanted Ezekiel to be a priest and minister to them, but God chose him to prophecy to Israel and the nations. We must learn to see the world and history God’s way.
• Like Ezekiel’s name, we must trust that God alone is our strength. Although people will not like us for becoming like Christ, we know that God is faithful.
• Fourth, God is in control of all of human history. All we have to do is come to the throne of King Jesus, when he was first crucified on Calvary.
Trinity! Equality! Liberty!