Tuesday, July 03, 2012

July 3 - I Heard the Voice

Today's Reading:
Ezekiel 1:1-3:15
Matthew 8:18-34
Proverbs 11:9-18
Click on Text Link to Read Online

Focus Verses:

Ezekiel 1:26-28
26 Above the expanse over their heads was what looked like a throne of sapphire, and high above on the throne was a figure like that of a man. 27 I saw that from what appeared to be his waist up he looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and that from there down he looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded him. 28 Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking.

Ezekiel was among the first Jews driven away from Judah and taken to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar in 597 b.c. He was from a priestly family, and during his early days in exile he received a prophetic calling. His received his first vision and calling among the exiles by the Kebar River in the land of the Babylonians.

Though God's people were scattered and captive, and Jerusalem was under siege, and the Temple was destroyed, God was still powerful and glorious upon his heavenly throne. The destruction of Jerusalem had not destroyed God!

God had allowed exile and destruction to purify his people and save them from the idolatry and paganism Jerusalem had become. God would dismantle everything and start over, if that's what it would take to turn the hearts of his people back to him and make them holy.

Response and Action:
Human traditions, practices, institutions, and power structures are vulnerable to corruption. Temples erected for worshiping God can become places of idolatry. Kings called to serve God can become tyrants who oppose and dishonor him. Systems and traditions, intended to help people understand and follow God, can become burdensome rules and empty ritual that become barriers to knowing God.

When these things fall apart and tumble down, God does not fall or tumble with them. When churches, traditions, and leaders fail, those who know and serve the One True God soon discover that God is still alive and well. God is faithful to reveal himself to those who seek him. Even in times of exile and destruction, God calls and gives purpose to those faithful to him.

O God, no matter where I am at, no matter what my circumstance, show yourself to me and give me a sense of calling and purpose. Give me a priestly heart that moves me to lift up the needs of others to you in prayer. Give me a prophetic spirit that causes me to speak your truth to my family, church, and neighbors. Help me to remember that though kingdoms rise and fall, your throne is forever. Amen.

Spiritual Formation Verses: 1 Peter 2:9
24 To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.

The Message of Ezekiel: A New Heart and a New Spirit (The Bible Speaks Today)
by Christopher J.H. Wright

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