Thursday, August 30, 2012

absurdly pointing fingers at God

"Yet you say, 'The way of the Lord is not just.' Hear now, O house of Israel: Is my way not just? Is it not your ways that are not just?
Ezekiel 18:25

Israel had become skilled at a theological dodge. They thought they had a brilliant intellectual reason for rejecting God. They thought that somehow they reasoned their way to moral high ground above God. Their rationale had to do with divine judgment. They blindly stated that innocent people die in acts that are deemed God's judgment. Therefore God was capricious and unfair in His display of His wrath. The implication was that capricious judgment was immoral because non-guilty people died.

This is an argument that agnostics and atheists like to raise today. So I find it interesting that God has addressed it in His Word so long ago. When we point a finger at God we assume ourselves innocent. That is the first fallacy. God makes it clear in Ezekiel 18 that He knows every human heart (something we are not capable of doing). There was no way that a righteous person would die in judgment for the sins of an unrighteous relative. God even goes so far as to say that He knows when the worst sinner repents and if such a person does what is right as fruit of their repentance, God will spare that person from death (Ezekiel 18:21-24). The opposite also holds true... if a righteous person chooses to abandon the truth and live in a non-repentant life that disobeys God, that person will be judged.

God's point is not that He is somehow inconsistent in the application of justice. It is that we are natural born sinners. Our perspective is warped. We are not just. God is perfectly just. So we cannot even evaluate our own hearts, let alone accuse God of unfairness. Such accusation is proof of our own moral impotency. When agnostics and philosophers committed to anti-supernaturalism accuse God in order to eliminate Theism as a belief system, they are doing what God told Israel was warped by sin. Only God can be righteous and evaluate what is holy and just.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

leaning toward our affections

Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: As I live, surely it is my oath that he despised, and my covenant that he broke. I will return it upon his head.
Ezekiel 17:19

This is the basis for the sentencing of Judah to exile in Babylon. The Lord confirms that the people know that they have forsaken the covenant with Yahweh. He makes it clear through a parable told in the form of a fable about two eagles, a cedar tree, and a vine. The vine grows away from the eagle that planted it and toward another lesser eagle. And in the explanation of that story it is clear that even though God established Israel, the nation had chosen to turn away from Him. That was why judgment was on the docket immediately for them.

The nation of Israel had been a people with wandering hearts. The people so easily turned to the idolatry of the nations around them. They failed at the keeping of the covenant because they failed at loving and worshiping the God Who gave it. The covenant would not foster a worship that their hearts first did not cultivate. And that was their big issue. It was where they had always historically struggled.

Our hearts will grow towards the things we love. And roots will entangle themselves around what we truly worship. That is what being created to worship means. And when we don't grow towards God or root ourselves in relationship to Him, the inevitable heartache will be a life of frustration and searching. God would intervene with a discipline that ripped Israel up by the roots in order to replant them towards His heart. That ultimately is what the Babylonian Captivity would accomplish. They were appraised, then uprooted, then thinned down to the tap root, then once again replanted to grow again.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

the faithless wife

Because you have not remembered the days of your youth, but have enraged me with all these things, therefore, behold, I have returned your deeds upon your head, declares the Lord GOD. Have you not committed lewdness in addition to all your abominations?
Ezekiel 16:43

The language of this chapter is some of the harshest in all of the Old Testament. God speaks an extended metaphor of Israel as a faithless wife. He speaks of His tender love for Israel, how He found the nation as a struggling abandoned infant in the desert. He loved her and helped her to thrive and grow. Later, in the flower of her full womanhood, He compassionately took her as His only bride. He clothed Israel with royal honor, wealth, and prestige.

But Israel dishonored her marriage vows to Yahweh. She despised her husband who had only shown her love and given her everything she was. She became enamored with foreign lovers, hiring them with gifts and giving away the wealth of her husband to all the nations around her. The adulteries committed by the nation come from a willing heart and a purposeful disrespect for God. Eventually she sacrificed her own children in lustful worship of her foreign gods. There was a shameless, brazen disregard for everything that God had given to her in marriage by the covenant. Israel forgot her past in addiction to adultery.

God was left to judge faithless Israel. He hurled all His displeasure and wrath at her adulteries with these vivid descriptions of her lewd behavior. He brought severe judgment on her for her shameless abandonment of Him. He reminded the nation of their orphaned youth and His tender love.

And then God does what only He uniquely can do. He extends grace after judgment. Israel would suffer horrible consequences for her faithlessness and adultery, but God would restore His covenant with beautiful Israel, taking her back as His bride again, upon her repentance (Ezekiel 16:61-63).

Monday, August 27, 2012

the uselessness of faithlessness

Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Like the wood of the vine among the trees of the forest, which I have given to the fire for fuel, so have I given up the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
Ezekiel 15:6

God compares the people of Jerusalem to dry grape vines. Just as the vine once dry has no real use as a wood, so they were now in a state of uselessness. Vine imagery is crucial to really understanding God's relationship with Israel in the Old Testament. In terms of expressing the meaning of the covenant, it is a common metaphor to describe Israel (see Psalm 80:8-16; Jeremiah 2:21; Hosea 10:1). There are deep implications to what God briefly states through Ezekiel in this context.

There was no fit use for a dried up grapevine. No one made furniture or household items out of it. It was fit for one use... fuel for the fire. And so it was for Jerusalem. They had dried up. The limits of what God could do in His vineyard had been reached. The vine was dead and now only fit to fuel the fire.

The reason behind this bleak conclusion was that Israel had broken faith with God (Ezekiel 15:8). They no longer lived nor did they believe that God was uniquely to be worshiped. They abandoned the Law and practiced every evil. And God had lovingly confronted them repeatedly, only to be disregarded. Their faithlessness had dried them up. Their lives were dry. They could only be consumed by their faithlessness.

This principle is one reason why I choose to reject what "enlightenment" philosophy and today's hip skepticism teach. I don't live my life by the dictates of the Science Channel. I find it has nothing but a soul-drying lifelessness to it that ultimately proves fruitless. How much more invigorating and exciting it is to grow in Jesus and live in the True Vine (John 15), finding life, growth, and fruit dripping with the sweet wine of God's grace!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

sinful feelings

Son of man, these men have taken their idols into their hearts, and set the stumbling block of their iniquity before their faces. Should I indeed let myself be consulted by them?
Ezekiel 14:3

The elders of Israel had come to Ezekiel, recognizing him as a prophet. It is implied that they want to hear what he has to say. But there is a huge problem. They have not repented of their idolatry. They wanted to hear God's prophet. Yet they had no intention of letting go of their idols and truly worshiping God.

The way in which their condition is described twice in this context makes it clear that they were not serious with God. God is also not interested in speaking to them while they were in this condition. They have tied their hearts, their affections, their emotions and feelings, to idolatry. And they will not remove their idols from their hearts. God says it is as if an idol is strapped to their faces... that's how close their sins were to them. And they will not cease. Their inquiry is not repentant. And for that reason God would not answer them with anything other than an analysis of their sinful idolatrous heart conditions.

Humans were built for worship. We search for our own significance. We assign significance to people, places, events, and things around us. We were created to worship God. Sin inevitably warps us into the worship of what is not God. And when we do so, those false gods will be drawn into our hearts. We become emotionally committed to what we worship. It is a deep personal bond. We take idols into our hearts.

God is right to insist that we break those attachments and renounce sinful feelings before we truly can return to Him. We tend to want to see emotions as morally neutral and symptomatic... not part of the problem itself. But God is clear that they are not neutral. That alone is clear reason to reject our feelings as sinful when they contradict God or His Word. We need to change the way we choose to feel about our false worship.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

the power of a false vision

Because you have disheartened the righteous falsely, although I have not grieved him, and you have encouraged the wicked, that he should not turn from his evil way to save his life, therefore you shall no more see false visions nor practice divination. I will deliver my people out of your hand. And you shall know that I am the LORD.
Ezekiel 13:22-23

God pronounces an indictment against false prophets who manipulate His people. He likens these evil characters to jackals that scavenge among the ruins of the city. There are several defining characteristics of these false prophets. This is just a sampling from Ezekiel 13:

1) They are false and liars. (13:6)
2) They claim authority by saying their messages are the Word of God. (13:6)
3) They believe their own lies will be honored by God and proven true. (13:6)
4) They are misleading people. (13:10)
5) The have a false optimism, proclaiming peace when there is none. (13:10)
6) They encourage personal actions that rebel against God. (13:10)
7) They add to rebellion against God by whitewashing it in religious jargon. (13:10)
8) They propagate a magical view of spirituality. (13:18)
9) They destroy souls with their false religion. (13:18)
10) They profane God for personal gain. (13:19)
11) They work against God's plan. (13:22)
12) They discourage righteous people. (13:22)
13) They encourage wicked people. (13:22)
14) They hinder repentance and hasten God's judgment. (13:22)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


For I am the LORD; I will speak the word that I will speak, and it will be performed. It will no longer be delayed, but in your days, O rebellious house, I will speak the word and perform it, declares the Lord GOD.
Ezekiel 12:25

The prophet Ezekiel was given the task of sharing the visions God gave him concerning the imminent destruction of Jerusalem. The problem was that the people had heard this so much that they dismissed it as a distant warning not to be heeded. But this message was meant to dispel their casual disregard.

Everything that Ezekiel delivered as a message from God was short and had a sense of urgency. This was because the judgment was coming in a matter of days, not years. These people would live to see this judgment. Many of them would die in the siege of Jerusalem. The survivors would be led away as ruined, penniless war captives.

The warning of the coming exile and horrible devastating destruction and death that would proceed it had one purpose: to show Israel that God was true. It was all meant to draw them to the reality of the covenant and the power of God to act on it. It showed them the God that they had rejected. And in that moment He would have their attention, and their hearts, again.

Monday, August 20, 2012

a heart transplant

And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God.
Ezekiel 11:19-20

In renewed covenantal language, God promises to restore His people Israel. This promise tempers the stern message of judgment that Ezekiel's generation has been given by God. In fact, in the immediate context, god has told the people that they are meat boiling in a pot. They were boiling judgment and Jerusalem was the pot in which they were stewing. Ezekiel himself was very impacted by this message as its circumstances played out. While giving this prophecy, and official dies, greatly disturbing the prophet (Ezekiel 11:13).

But this message of hope helps bring perspective. I notice that God is sovereign not only in judgment, but also in His restorative work. God gives them a unified new spirit of repentance and obedience. Through the restorative judgment of the captivity, God removes the stubborn cold hart of stony disobedience and defiance of the Law. Israel is renewed with a divine cardiac intervention. God transplants a new heart into the nation.

The result of this intervening grace is that Israel would now desire to serve the lord and obey His law. The covenant with Israel is re-instated after this restorative operation. Once again the uniqueness of Israel's exclusive relationship with God is affirmed. He is their God and they are His people. The beauty and grace of the covenant is confirmed beyond judgment. It is a perspective on the scope of God's love and grace that even in severe judgment God looks forward to restorative sovereign work in the lives of His people!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

God's glory displayed in judgment

And the glory of the LORD went up from the cherub to the threshold of the house, and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was filled with the brightness of the glory of the LORD.
Ezekiel 10:4

This is a continuation of the same vision that began to be recounted in chapter nine. It began with a tour of the temple in which Ezekiel witnessed scene after scene of pagan idolatry in the temple and its courts. Now that same place is filling up with the brightness of the glory of the Lord. But this is not the same way in which God's glory had filled the temple in the past. The reason for this display is that God is preparing to unleash His judgment on the city of Jerusalem.

So in a very clear, very descriptive way, we are shown that God is sovereign and that He is to be worshiped even in the outpouring of His judgment. God is majestic in the display of His justice. He will not tolerate sin or the rejection of His truth. He will display His glory in judgment.

We may not be comfortable with this fact, but it is a revelation from God about Himself that we must accept. God is great and God is always holy and just. His displays of mercy and grace are great. His actions of justice and judgment are great and good as well. His glory is known in them. This realization brings balance to worship and a healthy respect for the exclusive holiness of God.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

three reasons why

Then he said to me, "The guilt of the house of Israel and Judah is exceedingly great. The land is full of blood, and the city full of injustice. For they say, 'The LORD has forsaken the land, and the LORD does not see.'"
Ezekiel 9:9

God was about to correct the dismissive theology of Israel and Judah. There would be a remnant spared His full judicial wrath. They would be the few people who actually were broken over the idolatry and spiritual apathy that filled the lives of the Jewish people. They would survive, though they still would suffer.

God gives three reasons for His stern judgment. First, the people were violent. Of course the worst way this was known was through human sacrifice in pagan worship. Evil had possessed the hearts of the leaders so that many had even offered their own children in sacrifice to false gods. The bloodshed was widespread. The second reason was a consequence of rejecting the Law of God... injustice marked the description of their society. God cared for the hurting and the poor. The leaders of the nation did not. And God's wrath would correct this.

The final reason for this correction was the underlying rationale... it was a spiritual problem. The people believed God no longer cared or no longer saw them. It was a kind of autonomous thinking. They did not believe in or feel the need for God anymore. They replaced Yahweh with dozens of evil alternatives. But in reality they dismissed God. And judgment would not allow them to continue to do so easily. The Lord would show them He had indeed not forsaken them and He did in truth see and know all their actions.

God cares about what people think about Him and how they act as a result of that belief. He sees worship. He sees when we understand and follow His Word. He sees when we are indeed broken over sin. He also sees when we do none of these things. And God moves beyond us to reach us... even when it means He must discipline His people.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Scenes of idolatry

And he brought me into the inner court of the house of the LORD. And behold, at the entrance of the temple of the LORD, between the porch and the altar, were about twenty-five men, with their backs to the temple of the LORD, and their faces toward the east, worshiping the sun toward the east.
Ezekiel 8:16

The prophet Ezekiel is transported in a vision from his dwelling in Babylon back to the Jerusalem temple. Since he was by profession a priest, he was very familiar with the temple, its layout, and its purpose. And God gives him a tour of the temple in its current state. It winds up being an appalling tour of idolatry.

Everywhere God takes him on the temple grounds there is some form of pagan idolatry. There is an idol at the entrance to the inner court. Inside the courts are carved images of beasts and all sorts of idols. In this menagerie of idolatry, the leaders of the nation worship and offer incense. They do this secretly, but God exposes it to the prophet in the vision.

In the entrance of the north gate a woman practices ritual weeping for the Canaanite deity Tammuz... a fertility idol associated with all sorts of pagan immorality. The mourning ritual was supposed to ensure a new crop and prosperity. And this ritual was taking place in the temple of God.

The final scene witnessed is of sun worshipers. The picture is dramatic. The men literally turn their backs on God and His temple in order to face the rising sun in worship. All of these scenes show that Judah had forsaken God so completely that God would judge them for their defiant rejection of Him. it was one thing to be idolatrous. It was another rebellion altogether more direct to do so by turning God's temple into a center for the celebration of religious pluralism and pagan ritual.

Monday, August 13, 2012

letting sin go to its outcome

The king mourns, the prince is wrapped in despair, and the hands of the people of the land are paralyzed by terror. According to their way I will do to them, and according to their judgments I will judge them, and they shall know that I am the LORD.
Ezekiel 7:27

God does not judge humanity in any way that is not in keeping with His wisdom and our ways. God knows people intimately. He knows when we obey in worship and He knows when our hearts are self-centered and far from Him. Human beings cannot ever hide from God. He knows who we are and what we feel and why we do what we do.

As God announces His actions of judgment through Ezekiel, He does so well aware of the condition of His people. They are spiritually devoid of all respect for Him. They are also filled with dread at what they see coming though the Babylonian army. And He warns them of even more disaster to come.

There is a principle articulated here that informs us about the character of God in judgment. God never brings an undeserved judgment. And often God uses the natural outcome of our actions in His judgment. He promises to judge the Jews "according to their ways" and "according to their judgments". This was the way in which the outcomes of their actions would mete out the hardships they would face. Sin brings misery. And that is what the nation would know as God allowed their choices to follow these outcomes.

This is still true. The wages of sin is death. The reason death and pain exist in the world is because of human choices to disobey God and turn away from Him. And the outcome of that is that all sin and selfish striving ends in mourning, misery, and judgment.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

"...know that I am the LORD"

And I will stretch out my hand against them and make the land desolate and waste, in all their dwelling places, from the wilderness to Riblah. Then they will know that I am the LORD.
Ezekiel 6:14

The running theme of Ezekiel's prophecy is summed up in an often repeated phrase: "know that I am the LORD". This is said four times in chapter six alone (Ezekiel 6:7, 10, 13, & 14). And the messages and metaphors of this chapter are a bitter pill to swallow.

God issues statements that confirm that idolatrous Israel will be judged. The dead bodies of idolaters will lie fallen, slain next to their destroyed false gods. God will utterly wipe out this penchant for idols. God takes credit for this judgment exclusively. God uses strong language to describe the unfaithfulness of His people, accusing them of having whoring hearts. He wants them to know the devastating destruction is a message. He brought the difficulties upon them because of their arrogant unfaithfulness to Him.

God takes responsibility for all the judgments that fall on the disobedient; warfare, famine, and disease. This is because He is furious in His wrath and is not holding back any of the curses of the covenant. Yet a small percentage will survive to be chastened in the captivity (Ezekiel 6:11-12). God is merciful even then.

If we only concentrate on the aftermath of judgment, the suffering and the unfathomable human misery, we will miss the entire picture. The purpose of judgment is to draw the people back to a true knowledge of God. After experiencing His discipline, they will know that He is Lord. And they will turn to Him and be saved. God is not just wildly and arbitrarily angry. He is always gracious and even brings judgment in a way that continues to show His desire to save.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

I can't take joy in judgment.

therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I, even I, am against you. And I will execute judgments in your midst in the sight of the nations.
Ezekiel 5:8

The pronouncements against the city of Jerusalem by God are very severe. This is not enjoyable reading. Anyone who gets excited about God's display of His displeasure at sin and pouring out His wrath in judgment is not normal. It is terrifying to consider. God was going to allow Jerusalem to be ransacked and the people to suffer horribly in consequence for their sin. And the world would see it.

There was a reason for the humiliation, hunger, shame, and public display. The city had sinned in a dramatic way that was on display on the world stage. The nations around them had watched them abandon and defy God. The public humiliation they would endure was meant to be instructive to the watching world as well. It was a witness to the power of God in administering justice. It would instill awe and fear of the Lord.

By having His prophet Ezekiel declare these things in advance, God was showing His people that He was sovereign. He was present in their judgments. He was administering the curses of the covenant due to their long disobedience and disregard of Him. This was not pretty, but it was powerful.

I don't believe for one moment that God's person or nature has changed since this time. He can still choose to display His glory in judgment and still does. In fact, the scriptures indicate that He will do so with the entire world at the future moment known as the Day of the Lord. I am not afraid personally for that reality, but I am in awe of it and honestly am not really anticipating it with glee. It makes me aware of the awfulness of human sin and the holiness of my great God.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

attention, please!

And the LORD said, "Thus shall the people of Israel eat their bread unclean, among the nations where I will drive them."
Ezekiel 4:13

God was making a point about the suffering of the exiles by insisting on Ezekiel's example teaching an object lesson to the Israelite leaders currently in exile in Babylon. The prophet was to spend roughly 14 months lying in a specific position and besieging a clay model of Jerusalem. All the while he was given a limited bread and water diet to symbolize the hardships that God was bringing in judgment. The bread had to be baked in an oven using dung for fuel. But all the weird instructions were meant to get the attention of God's people.

The purpose of this unique way of preaching was to get their attention and draw them to God's message. They did not seem to listen well to God. Maybe the visual drama attached to these episodes would get them to believe what God was saying to them! This was all a way to recapture the imaginations of a wayward people.

All this strange prophesying was a way in which God continued to convey His love to a people that had completely rejected Him. This was a desperate time. It called for drastic measures to communicate. And to see the way God chose to use Ezekiel in this way just confirms to me that no matter how bad people can get, God will still choose to speak to them, calling attention to their deeds and bringing glory to Himself.

Monday, August 6, 2012

the watchman

Moreover, he said to me, "Son of man, all my words that I shall speak to you
receive in your heart, and hear with your ears. And go to the exiles, to your people, and speak to them and say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD,' whether they hear or refuse to hear."
Ezekiel 3:10-11

Again God reminds the prophet Ezekiel of the kind of tough ministry that is facing him. God promises to be with him and to protect him. But there is a warning that Ezekiel's words as God's Words would go unheeded. But Ezekiel was encouraged to stay faithful to proclaiming God's truth despite the negative reactions and lack of acceptance.

The metaphor that God employed to relate the seriousness of the prophet's task is that of a night watchman at the gate of the city (Ezekiel 3:16-21). As long as Ezekiel was faithful to speak God's word to the people to whom God directed him to speak, he would be doing well. The watchman warns and tells what he sees coming. But if he did not take the message where God intended, Ezekiel would be liable for the lives of those who needed to hear the truth. It was a solemn responsibility to warn the exiles.

Individual choice and personal responsibility factor strongly in this metaphor. Once warned, the exiles were held responsible for their actions. If Ezekiel failed to warn as God revealed, he was held responsible. Whether the people obeyed God's messages or not, the prophet was still compelled to be faithful to deliver those words. God may have had stern warnings of judgment, but he would not MAKE anyone accept or reject them. People would respond to God of their own free will choice. Ezekiel could not control their choices. He just needed to obey with proclaiming the message. That is how the Word of God still works. The watchman cries out. The people choose to act on the warning.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

ministry paradigm for an "evangeli-phobic" culture

And whether they hear or refuse to hear (for they are a rebellious house) they will know that a prophet has been among them.
Ezekiel 2:5

God called the prophet Ezekiel to a very difficult ministry. Even though the Jews were in captivity in Babylon, they were still not repentant. Ezekiel began his ministry just as the Jews were under Babylonian threat. The first thing that Babylon did was to replace the king in Jerusalem with a puppet ruler and then exile all the leading officials. Ezekiel was among this first wave of exiles since he was a priest.

That is why he has such a rough ministry assignment. He was primarily prophesying to the elite who had long ago rejected God for idols. They were still resistant to the Word of God. It was an ongoing rebellion. They would make his ministry extremely difficult.

At issue was not the "success" of Ezekiel's prophetic confrontations. His ministry would not be evaluated by positive acceptance. Rather, God warned him in advance that the main thing God expected of him was faithfulness to the prophetic call. It did not matter if the Jews "heard" (obeyed) God's message or not. What mattered was that the prophet indeed gave them God's message. If Ezekiel faithfully proclaimed, than prophetic ministry would be rewarded by God.

In Ezekiel and God's words of encouragement to him, I find a pattern for ministry among a gospel-phobic generation. This whole Chick-fil-A flap has me thinking about how opposed the cultural elite are to Christian values and the changes the gospel brings. Personally, I find it a shame that a fast food chicken sandwich chain is taking up where the church has given in... but that's another issue. There is a deeper struggle here.

Ministry today is increasingly complicated by a calloused disregard for all things spiritual and moral guidelines coming in a written form. But faithfulness to God's call AND to God's Word are the things that matter most. Success is not measured in wild numbers, but in gospel clarity and commitment in these days. I believe our world will just become more evangeli-phobic. Sodom will vex our righteous souls. Few will choose to "hear" the gospel. But this generation still needs to know that a prophet has been among them. Will Christians be faithful to stand for the gospel and proclaim it despite a lack of "success"? That remains to be seen. Historically, evangelicals have not been known for this kind of focus.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

strange dream

Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of one speaking.
Ezekiel 1:28

The vision that Ezekiel had of the glory of the lord is wild and surrealistically symbolic. He sees winged living creatures that defy description. They seem frightfully monstrous as they flit about the scene that unfolded before him. And then there are those gyroscopic "wheels within wheels" that have the spirits of the living creatures in them and move around with them. Odd. Just really, really odd.

And all of this is lit up and overarched by a rainbow of God's bright glory emanating from the vision and permeating the vision. It is one wild trip for the reader to take in. I can't imagine how Ezekiel must have felt as he witnessed it and then wrote it all down. It must have felt like capturing insanity to him. But the end of the description brings purpose and clarity to the crazy imagery. Ezekiel hears the voice of the Lord as he bows in worship at the vision's intrusion at the canal in captivity.

Worship was Ezekiel's response. He recognized the presence of God in the overwhelming moment. He was after all, a priest. He knew what it was to worship God and minister in His presence. And even though the temple in Jerusalem now lay in burning heaps of stones and God's people were captive in Chaldea, God was still speaking to His people. There was hope in the powerful picture of God in His glory. It broke through the strong pain of the exile. And Ezekiel fell down and worshiped the God of the psychedelic, soul-stirring, cinematic show of glory.