Sept. 1, 2009
Read Ezekiel 1
Highlights In Today's Reading:
Verse 1:1 sets the stage: Ezekiel is a captive in Babylon when God calls him! No one can stand in God's presence (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 God's messages (chap. 4).
As a captive of heathen Gentiles in Babylon, Ezekiel must have felt hopelessly separated from God. The Temple of God was gone — NO God-given place to offer sacrifice; NO God-given Table of Shewbread; NO God-given Laver for cleansing. Circumstances looked very hopeless. To his great joy, the Word of the Lord came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest (1:3).
Ezekiel's first vision appeared as a whirlwind . . . out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it. . . . Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures (cherubim) (1:4-5; 10:1-20). Each of the creatures had four faces, wings, and hands.
Each had the face of a man, a lion, an ox, and an eagle (1:10). The lion is the ruler of the animal kingdom and symbolizes majesty; the ox was the most valuable domesticated animal and represents submission and strength; the eagle is admired above all other birds because of its superior ability to rise into the heavens, above its enemies; and man, created in the image of God, illustrates unrivaled in intellectual ability. As one, these four were prepared at all times to instantly obey the will of God and go in any direction.
The cherubim stood within the wheels — in which one wheel was revolving north-south and the other east-west. The wheels were omnidirectional and symbolized instant activity of the Sovereign God in every direction: They turned not when they went; they went every one straight forward (1:9,12,17). The wheels had their rings . . . full of eyes round about (1:18). Under the control of God the Creator, these innumerable eyes could look immediately in every direction, seeing everything.
Not only would God deliver the Israelites from a heathen world power, but He would prepare them to overcome their greatest failure — the sinful worship of false gods. This incredible vision reminds us that our Heavenly Father is in control, working through everyday activities of life to deliver us from sin and make it possible to fulfill His Word. This is the key to gaining the best in life.
Promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the Judge: He putteth down one, and setteth up another (Ps. 75:6-7).
Thought for Today:
For I know that the Lord is great, and that our Lord is above all gods (Ps. 135:5).
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 • Arabic International Shortwave Broadcasts for the month of September sponsored by Mary Hoffmeyer • Radio Sri Lanka International Shortwave Broadcasts in Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka for the month of September in memory of Cody James Redman • Staff: Dr. John A. Hash • Government Officials: Rep. Ander Crenshaw (FL) and Rep. Al Green (TX) • Country: Botswana (1.5 million) in southern Africa • Major languages: English and Setswana • Limited religious freedom because of local chiefs • 58% Christian; 40% Indigenous; .8% Baha'i; .2% Muslim; .2% Other • Prayer Suggestion: Lift up your prayer of thanksgiving for the marvelous blessings of God (Ps. 18:1-3).
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: Matthew 11:28