We never hear of Ezekiel, until he was taken captive, and called of God, by the River Chebar. He was of the priestly family.
Ezekiel was in the second mass of people Nebuchadnezzar carried away to Babylon.
(It is interesting to note: that God did not leave Himself without witness to His people, wherever they were.
Daniel to the kings in the captivity….but also his actions and writings encouraging fellow Israelites there, and in generations to come.
Ezekiel to the Israelites, as slaves in Babylon.
And Jeremiah, still in Jerusalem, warning kings, priests and the people to “Return ye backsliding people”; till, when they would not, Jerusalem was destroyed…for a time.)
Ezekiel was with the other captives which had been herded to the River Chebar.
But God showed Himself to him, in a magnificent way.
Ezekiel 1:1, 3 “Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river of Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God.
The word of the Lord came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest….and the hand of the Lord was there upon him.”
If you read through the rest of the chapter, you see the color of the rainbow: “the color of amber, the color of burnished brass, the color of beryl, the color of the terrible crystal,”….till…
Ezekiel 1:28 “As the appearance of the bow (rainbow) that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of One that spake.”
When God gives His light……it can show itself in many “colors”….knowledge, joy, words, peace, love, etc.
God is Light, and in Him is “no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17)…..but how the light manifests itself to us is in amazing, various ways.
(Do we need to see which way to turn in any situation? He opens the Word and shows an example which suddenly is the answer.
Need help in dealing with a co-worker, a boss, a teacher, a friend? Suddenly He gives you grace to say and do, exactly right.)
When the Lord gives us His light we see things in their “true colors”. We are not looking through the dark glasses of the world, or the rose-colored glasses of illusion…..but truth is set before us…..in the true colors of the Almighty God.
2 Corinthians 4:6 “For God, Who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined into our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”
Ezekiel also saw motion…..but it was all according to the Spirit: “ a whirlwind (tornado), they went straight forward, it went up and down, ran and returned as lightning, the wheels going on their sides, the wheels were lifted up”…..
….but all “whither the Spirit was to go, they went.”
All the things which are “moved” in heaven, and on earth; are according to the Permitted Will of God; either above the earth, or on it.
So any real movement in our lives comes by the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit of God.
We go straight, or turn, or go up or down……..we can mount up as wings as eagles; or run and not be weary; or walk, and not faint (Isaiah 40:31)
We hear a word behind us….”this is the way, walk ye in it.” (Isaiah 30:21).
And all by the Spirit of God.
God is showing Ezekiel that He is in charge,……whether he was in Israel or in Babylon….nothing hinders God’s power for Ezekiel,….or for His people.
And above all these: the Voice of God (Ezekiel 1:24), then a throne and a Man on it, in the brightness of fire.
“….and when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of One that spake.”
Ezekiel was then spoken to. He is the only recorded one to see such a sight….maybe the only one there, that believed God was still God,….even in Babylon.
(What do we believe when circumstances change and things get hard?)
Ezekiel 2:1-2 “And He said unto me, Son of man, stand upon thy feet, and I will speak unto thee.
And the Spirit entered into me when He spake unto me, and set me upon my feet, that I heard Him that spake unto me.”
The Lord told Ezekiel that He would send him with His message to the children of the captivity…
It would be a hard message…nothing they would want to hear,….
……although you would think, now, they would,…..
“….repent, and seek Me, and do My will.”
Ezekiel 3:10-12 “Moreover He said unto me, Son of man, all My words that I shall speak unto thee receive in thy heart, and hear with thine ears.
And go, get thee to them of the captivity, unto the children of My people, and speak unto them, and tell them, Thus saith the Lord God; whither they will hear, or whither they will forbear.
Then the Spirit took me up, and I heard behind me a voice of a great rushing, saying, Blessed be the glory of the Lord from His place.”
Repentance,….and consequent peace and joy from this; was what God was offering them again.
He wanted them to know Him as their God….and all He was, and would do for them….anywhere.
Ezekiel 3:17 “Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at My mouth, and give them warning from Me.”
(Ezekiel means “strengthened of God”; and he was. He preached for at least twenty-two years…maybe more…warning His people against the sins which brought them into captivity.
And to return to the Lord God.
His message, though often refused, set a line in the sand for those who really wanted God’s Will….and when it came time for them to return to the land,…..they, at least, had already returned to God, in their hearts.)
He was to warn them against sin and rebellion.
Ezekiel 3:21 “Nevertheless, if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also, thou hast delivered thy soul.”
Ezekiel 18:27-28 “Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive.
Because he considereth, and turneth away from all his transgressions that he hath committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die.”
They may think God had forsaken them….they may think God did not see them in this foreign land….but God was there, and would continue to speak to to His people through Ezekiel….
Offering them life, real life…..even in captivity,….with Him.
(It is interesting to note….that the outward form of their religion was not there….but God was…and He was speaking to all who would hear Him.)
If they would hear, and turn, they would be healed…
Or they would “forbear”.
Forbear means to be idle or lacking….they just would not come:
Maybe it was lack of concern…indifference…for their situation…..we are here, what does it matter?
Or by putting if off….I will repent tomorrow.
Through various types, Ezekiel spoke to God’s people….warning them; encouraging them to “turn to God, and His ways”.
We, too, have been exhorted through God’s Word to “continue in the faith” (Acts 14:22).
We are to “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ…”(2 Peter 3:18)
2 Thessalonians 3:13 “But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.”
1 Peter 3:15 “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear:”
2 John 8 “Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.”
Hebrews 10:35-36 “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward.
For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.”
At the end of the book of Ezekiel….he is giving a prophesy of the coming reign of the Messiah (it will be in the Millennial).
But Ezekiel ends the book with a name of God: Jehovah-shammah.
It means…”The Lord is there.”
It is fitting for this:
This has been his message from the vision at the first…to the end; God is there….He has never left us…..will we believe that, and turn to Him?