Verse 1:1 sets the stage: Ezekiel is a captive in Babylon when God calls him! No one can stand in the presence of God (Ezek. 1:26-28). The message to the people of Israel is also hand-fed by God to His watchman (that's also us) (2:8 — 3:17). Check our responsibility carefully (3:18-21)! Ezekiel acts out the messages of God (chap. 4).
As a captive of the most powerful nation on earth, Ezekiel was forced to live far from the promised land. Consequently, he could not offer sacrifices to God according to the Law. But to Ezekiel's great joy, the Word of the Lord came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest . . . in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the Lord was there upon him (Ezek. 1:3).
In Ezekiel's first vision, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself (flashing forth), and a brightness was about it. . . . Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And . . . they had the likeness of a man (1:4-5). The cherubim (angelic beings) were fulfilling the perfect will of God. Since the cherubim faced all directions simultaneously, it implied they were prepared to instantly obey the will of God in every situation (1:9,12,17).
Ezekiel remained a faithful servant of God even though he was forced from Jerusalem to live under the rule of heathens. In striking contrast, a multitude of "believers" today readily accept the standards of their secular surroundings, live like the world, and ignore taking responsibility in the Church which Christ died to establish. Jesus must ask: Why call ye Me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? (Luke 6:46). He also warns: Whosoever heareth these sayings of Mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man. . . . And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man (Matt. 7:24-26). Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven (7:21). To believe on . . . Christ . . . and . . . be saved (Acts 16:31) is to forsake sin and live in obedience to His Word. The devils also believe (James 2:19) but, obviously, "don't do" the will of God. A true believer will take up his cross daily, and follow Jesus as Lord of his life (Luke 9:23).
The Lord will protect and direct the lives of anyone who yields to the will of God in every situation as Ezekiel did. Jesus said: Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you (Matt. 6:33).
Thought for Today:
If My people, which are called by My Name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land (II Chr. 7:14).
In a likeness as the appearance of a man, who sat upon the throne (Ezek. 1:26-28). This foreshadowed God who appears as a Man, the Man Christ Jesus (I Tim. 2:5).
1:18 dreadful =awesome, wonderful; 1:20 up over against =close beside; 3:12 rushing =tumultuous, shouting; 3:14 heat =anger; 3:26 dumb =unable to speak to warn them; 4:16 break the staff =cut off the supply.
Pray for our Military worldwide • International Broadcasts for the month of September sponsored by Mary Hoffmeyer • Staff: Dr. John A. Hash • Government Officials: Rep. Ander Crenshaw (FL) and Rep. Al Green (TX) • Country: Algeria (31.5 million) in North Africa • Major languages: Arabic and French • Opposition to the Gospel is intense • 96.7% Muslim; 3% non-Religious; .29% Christian; .01% Baha'i • Prayer Suggestion: Praise God in prayer and with singing for His Word is pure and His works are done in truth (Ps. 33:2-4).
Optional Reading: Revelation 6
NOTE: Bible Pathway covers the Old Testament with devotional and commentary insights over a nine-month period, January through September. Each day during these months, an optional reading of one chapter a day from the New Testament will also be listed. The October, November, and December issues will provide a daily commentary on the New Testament readings. Thus, the reader goes through the New Testament twice each year using the Bible Pathway plan.
Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 8:18