1 – The one-word theme of Ezekiel is: REVIVAL. Not in the sense which it has come to mean in popular American Christianity. We think of revival as a series of special meetings, or simply a time of unique blessing from God. Those are not totally wrong in and of themselves, but the word itself connotes much more. Re-vival, re-vivification – restoring from the dead, bringing back to life that which either was, or seemed to be, beyond hope. That which had lost the essence of its life, being brought back to vibrant vitality. The picture of Judah now in the grave of its exile, being breathed on again like Adam was when he was made “a living soul” instead of just a clay form. God coming back to indwell and raise up His people. The idea will culminate in the valley of dead bones in Chap. 37.
And how the Church has needed such times of revival, when she seems to have been given over to lifelessness. We can need such revival personally, in our local assembly, regionally, nationally or globally. America needs it desperately right now. The soul of the Church needs to be so revitalized, so revived, that once again her zeal for God, His House and His glory – the fame of His name – that the earth would tremble under the revelation of His glorious mercy and grace through His Bride.
It always begins with a fresh vision of God.
Father, send us true, sin destroying, life giving, soul cleansing, Christ exalting, Gospel proclaiming, Christ’s Kingdom advancing – Revival. Restore us in Him. Send your Spirit in power once again. To me. To our Church. To our city. To our State. To our Nation. To the World. Revive us.
2 – Ezekiel 3:15 (ESV) 15 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.
RAF: The source of Ezekiel’s “distress” (as the TNIV has it) or being overwhelmed at this point appears to come from the sudden realization of the hardness of the hearts of God’s people. Having now seen God afresh, having heard His Word anew, having been warned that they will not listen to Ezekiel because they will not listen to God (7), he’s overcome. He does not know how to respond or proceed. He knows they will not listen. He sees now how far from God they’ve come. And the gap between them and their God seems unbridgable.
3 – Ezekiel 10:10-14 (ESV) 10 And as for their appearance, the four had the same likeness, as if a wheel were within a wheel. 11 When they went, they went in any of their four directions without turning as they went, but in whatever direction the front wheel faced, the others followed without turning as they went. 12 And their whole body, their rims, and their spokes, their wings, and the wheels were full of eyes all around—the wheels that the four of them had. 13 As for the wheels, they were called in my hearing “the whirling wheels.” 14 And every one had four faces: the first face was the face of the cherub, and the second face was a human face, and the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle.
RAF: As earlier in this book, this picture of the wheels with the cherubim is intriguing. The wheels and the cherubim can go in any direction without “turning” as they go. This seems to be a picture communicating to us that while God seems to be moving differently, nevertheless, He is not turning from His eternal purpose and promises. Yes, there is a change of direction in one sense, and yet in another, there is no change – no real turning – still accomplishing His intended ends even though the way seems circuitous. He moves with us and through our time and history, responding and acting according to what is needed and truly interacting with what is going on, and yet never leaving course, never truly changing. He is always moving forward, no matter what direction He moves in from our vantage point.
4 – Ezekiel 10:18-19 (ESV) 18 Then the glory of the Lord went out from the threshold of the house, and stood over the cherubim. 19 And the cherubim lifted up their wings and mounted up from the earth before my eyes as they went out, with the wheels beside them. And they stood at the entrance of the east gate of the house of the Lord, and the glory of the God of Israel was over them.
RAF: God’s presence or glory, remains where He is rightly honored. When He ceases to be honored – when we set up other gods, either in our hearts and minds or in in actuality – He removes Himself. He will not countenance us as His people, when we cease to countenance Him rightly as our God. No, He does not remove Himself quickly. He remained in His temple for many many years during the rebellion of Israel and Judah. He is of greater patience than any of us imagine. But when He removes Himself, He does so quickly. So the question is – are we about His purposes in the world? Are we seeking to advance His Kingship within ourselves, and among the sons of man? Are our lives, built around His purposes? Or do we simply appeal to Him to accomplish our purposes? Do we even know what He is about in this world? Or is He more like an idol to us? A means to our ends? Father, deliver us from ourselves!