Sunday, September 7, 2008

Hearing from God

Frankly, there are a few bits of the Bible that are a little bizarre! Yesterday at church we read one of them in Ezekiel 1.

As Ezekiel stands on the banks of the Chebar Canal with his fellow Israelites in the Babylonian exile, he has a vision  - and what a vision it is!

He sees terrifying and powerful creatures, weird and wonderful mechanics and magnificent views. He hears the sounds of the Almighty and the sound of an army. It is a wonderful sensory overload!

Verse after verse we hear of the awesome and terrifying vision that he has - and all the while we are left to wonder 'What does it mean?'

Ezekiel I'm sure would have had the same sense of wonder and amazement, and perhaps a little bit of confusion - just like us. But there is no doubt about what he understands is happening, and what is the appropriate response.

"Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of one speaking."  (Ezekiel 1:28  ESV)

Ezekiel knows that as he has his vision, a window is being opened for him, a window to the glory of God. And he knows what is the appropriate response to the opening of such a window - its to fall down, and to listen. As we read on we also learn that Ezekiel obeys what the Lord says to him  - yet another appropriate response.

The point is this I think. To be in the presence of the Lord, to experience his glory and majesty, and to hear him speak - is no small matter.

How often do we hear the saying 'I'd believe in God if he just showed himself to me' by which is usually meant 'I'd believe in God is he would do the party trick which I demand of him.'

Ezekiel didn't demand any party tricks, he didn't put any conditions on God's appearance, he didn't define a box for God to fit into. He let God be God, and he bowed down before him.

Is that sometimes what we need to do? To remember who is God and who has been created by him. To realise his majesty and his glory and to acknowledge him not by demanding things of him or putting him in a box, but by doing what Ezekiel did - bowing before him and listening to him.

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