Read:  Ezekiel 43:1-12

Focus:  Ezekiel 43:2-3
Suddenly, the glory of the God of Israel appeared from the east. The sound of His coming was like the roar of rushing waters, and the whole landscape shone with His glory… I fell face down on the ground.

This vision that God showed Ezekiel is one of great hope for Ezekiel and the Jewish people.  God reveals to His people that He will bring His holy presence back to His temple.  By doing so, God promises that He will restore the Jewish people, who are still living in exile.

 The imagery used to describe God’s presence in today’s reading is very similar to that used by the Apostle John to describe Jesus.  Ezekiel described God’s presence as rushing water and shining glory.  In Revelation 1:15, 16, John writes that Jesus’ voice “thunders like mighty ocean waves” or “the roar of rushing waters” (depending on the translation) and “His face was like the sun in all its brilliance”.

I spent several years serving in the U.S. Navy.  As a sailor, I spent months at a time on the ocean.  While standing watch at night when most of the rest of the ship is asleep, you can feel a vastness and enormity that stretches further than your imagination. During calm seas, it’s one of the most peaceful times I’ve experienced.  During heavy storms, the power and roar of the ocean waves are beyond description; it is an awesome (in the true meaning of the word) experience.  It leaves one with the perspective of how powerless we truly are in the face of forces that toss a 10+ ton warship around like a plastic boat in a bathtub.  When confronted by the glory of the Lord, Ezekiel and John both experienced a vastness, enormity, and force so powerful that it stretched beyond their imagination.  The presence of the Lord was so awesome that they couldn’t stay on their feet; Ezekiel “fell face down on the ground”.  Likewise, in Revelation 1:17, John writes “When I saw him, I fell at his feet as if I were dead.”

The next line given by John in Revelation fills my heart with hope much like God returning His presence to the temple filled Ezekiel with hope.  Revelation 1:17 – 18 continues: “But He laid His right hand on me and said, “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last.  I am the living one.  I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever!  And I hold the keys of death and the grave.”

Yes, God is Love (1 John 4:8) and Jesus is our friend (John 15); those are critical aspects of Christianity.  However, to truly believe God’s promises to us, we must also see God as powerful enough to overcome natural law and accomplish the miraculous.  How do you see God?  When you think of Him, do you feel a sense of awe?  Do you believe that He is powerful enough to fulfill His promises to you?  That He is powerful enough to overcome death?  Do you believe that He also loves each and every one of us so much that in spite of our sin and rebellion, He offers us hope through Jesus?  Just like with Ezekiel and John in Revelation, when we fall to our knees, confess our sins, and humbly admit that we need Him, He reaches out to us, tells us not to fear, for our hope is secure in Him – the One who is more powerful than mighty ocean waves; the One who has overcome death and holds the keys to death and the grave!

Prayer:  Lord, thank You that You provide us hope when You reveal Your awesome might and power to us in the Bible.  Thank You that You show us that You are more powerful than sin and death, and through Jesus, You have given us a way out of the sin cycle.  Thank You that I can trust You will always fulfill Your promises.  I pray that You would continue to open my eyes, my ears, my heart, and my mind to You.  Please help me to see You as You have revealed Yourself throughout the Bible.  If I have any preconceived views of You that aren’t true, please replace those with the truth.  In Jesus’ name… Amen.

 

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