Friday, April 12, 2013

So... Ezekiel?

"So... Ezekiel?" I asked, trying to sound casual, but actually feeling so excited I was about to burst.

After trudging through about 20 chapters in two months, I'd finally landed on some exciting verses that put all the rest into perspective that felt relevant. So much of what I had read was about God destroying, completely annihilating whole nations, wiping their name off the face of the earth permanently. And then... in chapter 29-30, God speaks to Egypt. He tells them that they will be scattered, crushed, and broken... but not completely destroyed.

“‘Yet this is what the Sovereign Lord says: At the end of forty years I will gather the Egyptians from the nations where they were scattered. I will bring them back from captivity and return them to Upper Egypt, the land of their ancestry."

They would never again be a great nation, but they would be redeemed and would come home. He had plans for Egypt, and he wasn't done with them yet. I thought about Egypt as it is now. I have a Christian friend from Egypt, and I've heard how the Church is strong there. And God knew that his people would live there, grow there, worship there, and die there... He saw that there was hope for Egypt, and even though Egypt had done terrible things in the past, and would again, he showed mercy and grace, in the midst of utter annihilation around them. This is comforting and beautiful to me... the mercy of God. 

My friend, Todd, is also reading through Ezekiel, and when I shared this excitement with him, he said he got to read a little further, and wanted to share what he had learned, too. 

"So... Ezekiel?" I said. 

"Yes! Ezekiel! I stayed up reading for a long time last night," Todd said quickly, and his face lit up. Oh good, I thought, he's excited too. "I got to chapter 36, and that's where the theme of the whole book of Ezekiel is found."

 “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: It is not for your sake, people of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of my holy name..." 

"Everything God does is for the sake of his name, his glory... so people will know him. Connie, the things that happen to us - they aren't about us. Everything is about him," he said, and I could tell that he'd been thinking about this a lot. It is a hard truth to submit to, but it is worth wrestling with, because it has so much freedom and power. 

I remembered the many times throughout those difficult chapters, where God said, "Then you will know that I am the Lord." Over and over and over again, he reveals that his drive and motivation in all things is for people to know him as Lord. 

We talked more about the different analogies used throughout the book, and the ways God received glory then, and how he is receiving the glory now in our lives, through the painful, dark times and through the beautiful things we experience. It changes the way we look at life, the way we approach life. And there's more... so much more! Keep reading and you'll find heart transplants, bones coming to life, rivers flowing from a new temple... so challenging, so powerful, so beautiful. 


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