- can’t be seen
- doesn’t retaliate against words made against him
In the New Living Translation, verses 1 and 2 of Ezekiel 2 are phrased in this way:
‘”Stand up, son on man” said the voice. “I want to talk with you,” The Spirit came into me as he spoke, and he set me on my feet (as) I listened carefully to his words.’
In these verses, it is clearly God’s voice that calls and commissions Ezekiel. Indeed, no sooner does Ezeliel hear the voice then he is aware of God’s Spirit enlivening him to rise to his feet. Actually, what I love about this particular translation is the intimacy between God and Ezekiel in His words “Stand up, son on man. I want to talk with you.”
Surely this is a verse we should all hold on to in the midst of our fraught lives and busy days? God knows our weariness: He is aware of our mistakes: those things that haunt us; the ways we have failed him now and will continue to fail him in the future; and our lack of strength to even rise before our Maker. And yet, God is always ready to meet and recommission us to do his bidding in the world. Such is the personal and active God we worship and His gentle way with those who believe and are receptive to God!
- a supernatural occurence that facilitates the mechanism seen in Ezekiel’s vision?
- an unknown dynamic through which movement occurs that Ezekiel presumes spiritual?
From what is encountered later in the book of Ezekiel, we realise that Ezekiel’s calling iand ability as a prophet is quite unique. However , for now, it will suffice to say his writing points to God who is revealing what is to come through Ezekiel, his chosen vessel.
Continuing our series on how the term ‘spirit’ is understood by God’s people in the Old Testament, we come across this verse which combines two pictorial representations. Firstly how the word of God is ‘like a snow cooled drink on a hot day’ to the one who receives it. Then. secondly, how the message refreshes the spirit ‘of his master’ albeit, temporarily
Now, although the proverb is confusing because of the way it is translated, it shouldn’t affect the message of how scripture – God’s living word – is able to bring us relief when we are tired and troubled. True, we may not be in the midst of work in the heat of Summer activity, but we all have times when a reminder of God’s goodness and providence can lift our hearts.
In this context, there can be no doubt that the term ‘spirit’ is here being used to refer to the human ‘heart’ with all its issues. Unlike our physical ‘human’ thirst which is always in need of replenishment, the in-filling of God’s Holy Spirit does away with this necessity as He comes to reside within the beleiver forever. However, it will be many years on from this psalm that the Day of Pentecost will arrive and Christ’s believers understand this new phenomenon. One in which God will choose to make known among the Jews and Gentiles ‘the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in (us) the hope of glory ‘ (I Col 1v27) and this through the permanent infilling of God’s Holy Spirit!
I wonder if you have ever experienced the rumble strips that run along the edge of motorways? By that I mean the safety device along the verge that are intended to help people when – through tiredness or whatever – they gravitate away from the lane they are travelling in and are at risk of colliding with another vehicle or edge. This sudden ‘jolt’ of car thumping across the roughened surface (hopefully) being enough to jolt the driver back to his/her senses.
In v8 we read that: ‘Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.’ (Proverbs 16v8) But what does this mean? Is God merely stating an inevitable consequence of rebellious human nature or is there more to be learnt from this verse?
Well, actually – yes. There is something to be learnt from this verse. Rather like the rumble strips that alert us to pending danger, God’s verse warns us of the inevitable outcomes that occur when we allow ourselves to ‘sleep’ rather than be in control of the situation. Or put another way, when we find ourselves being ‘proud’ and unwilling to admit our mistakes, it is a sign that we are not in a good state of mind and that catastrophe is but a rumble strip away.
So, what to do? Well, in summary, two things we might consider is being more aware of the journey we’re on as we travel along this spiritual road God has placed us on. With this in mind, the two obvious things that come out of v16 is:
- to be alert/aware of the danger around us so as not to veer too far away from God.
- on occasions when we do veer away, not to panic but make necessary adjustments to get ourselves back on the right track.
Til next time…