Read: Ezekiel 40-43
Today we are treated to a vision that speaks to the people in exile, that offers them hope in a desperate time. We have to jump toward the end of this section to gain an understanding for this scripture: “Write these down before them so that they may be faithful to its design and follow all its regulations.” (Ezekiel 43:11)
Imagine for a moment that all we know and take for granted today is gone, our home, our place of worship, our livelihood, even friends and family have been killed or separated. Now extend that for 25 years. Look back where you were 25 years ago to try and gain some perspective. I find this difficult to do and appreciate, but it’s within this context that God tells Ezekiel to write down a vision that will inspire the people.
40:1 In the twenty-fifth year of our exile, at the beginning of the year, on the tenth of the month, in the fourteenth year after the fall of the city—on that very day the hand of the Lord was on me and he took me there. 2In visions of God he took me to the land of Israel and set me on a very high mountain, on whose south side were some buildings that looked like a city. 3He took me there, and I saw a man whose appearance was like bronze; he was standing in the gateway with a linen cord and a measuring rod in his hand. 4The man said to me, “Son of man, look carefully and listen closely and pay attention to everything I am going to show you, for that is why you have been brought here. Tell the people of Israel everything you see.” Ezekiel 40:1-4
Tell the people everything you see to give them hope, to inspire them to keep the faith.
He said: “Son of man, this is the place of my throne and the place for the soles of my feet. This is where I will live among the Israelites forever. The people of Israel will never again defile my holy name—neither they nor their kings—by their prostitution and the funeral offerings for their kings at their death. Ezekiel 43:7
Our God, the Creator of all, cares so much that he would go into elaborate detail to paint a vision for our ancestors to understand they are not forgotten–and He will dwell with them again. With us.
To be completely transparent, the details included in the reading today did not give me an exciting view of the future. It wasn’t until the end when I heard the whisper that suggested I needed perspective, I needed to have some empathy; only then did this make sense to me. Preaching a sermon on this text would likely fall flat as the ornate description of ancient buildings is unlikely to draw a crowd, but this is where I need to learn the lesson for today: it’s not all about me! Seriously. I’m embarrassed to think every word must be something for me.
Lord, your promise is too good for us. The hope you offer too great. Help us to humbly accept that which you lavish upon us.
Thoughts about serving others
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Let the Word evoke words. May your life encourage lives.