We have been talking about Ezekiel and the encounters he had with God. We talked about how God called him to do some pretty crazy things – read Ezekiel 1-4 if you want to get a picture of his calling and just a small taste of the crazy things he was called to do. He was called to do these crazy things by God when he realized his dream of going home (he was in exile) was not going to happen. God gave Ezekiel a fresh dream and a fresh vision of what he was to do and Ezekiel probably did not understand all that was going on in the vision but he moved forward in obedience and trust. Ezekiel in this new vision learned that he had a new task ahead and was willing to take it on and trust God for the results. That then leads us to see the last couple of things that we can learn from Ezekiel’s encounters with God.
God may give you a special message by an encounter with Him. Ezekiel was trained to be a priest, a special type of priest. Ezekiel appears to have trained to be a scribal priest or a teaching priest. There were many different ways for a priest to serve God, but Ezekiel was not going to fulfill any of them now. He encountered God and got a new message to deliver to God’s people. He was commissioned to be a prophet for God. Ezekiel had an on-going encounter with God, and out of these encounters, he received many messages from God that he wrote in his book. What is it that God wants you to do? Are you doing the task you are called to or are you just standing still doing nothing? We all need to be seeking God and the task he has for us!
One last thing here and that is this: when it seems as though our birth family and birthplace has predetermined our lot in life, an encounter with God can change everything. Most born into the tribe of Levi were predetermined to serve in some capacity in the Temple. A few Levites were called to the highest office which was ministering priests, and we read this in Hebrews 5:4 "No man takes this honor to himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron". Ezekiel encountered God one day and gave up his family’s ministry and professional preparation of being a priest.
Here is the thing, just because you think you are predetermined to do something does not mean that you are because God is a God of change. He is the God of doing a new thing as we are reminded of in Isaiah 43:19 which says: Behold, I will do something new, Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert. Are you ready for God to do something new in your life, a new direction, a new task?
Are you ready for God to do something new in your life? Anything else you want to share about the encounters that Ezekiel had with God?
Isaiah 38:1-8 - 1 In those days Hezekiah became mortally ill. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him and said to him, “Thus says the LORD, `Set your house in order, for you shall die and not live.’ “ 2 Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD, 3 and said, “Remember now, O LORD, I beseech You, how I have walked before You in truth and with a whole heart, and have done what is good in Your sight.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.
Now how would you like to have Isaiah’s job here. He has to go to the King and tell him that God has told him that He is going to die. Now in this statement from Isaiah: Thus says the LORD, `Set your house in order, for you shall die and not live.’ There seems to be no discussion here or bartering with God, he has sent the message and it is a flat out statement as to what is going to happen – Hezekiah is going to die.
God was remarkably kind to Hezekiah, telling him that his death was near. Not all people are given the time to set your house in order. Because not all are given warning about this we should be living our lives in a way always that our houses are in order. We need to always be ready because life is like a vapor that appears for a short time and vanishes away.
Again we see the reaction of Hezekiah. Before in the desperate situations we saw Hezekiah seek God in those times and again we see it here. Again we see that he turns his face to the wall and prays. Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall: This shows how earnest Hezekiah was in his prayer. He directed his prayer in privacy to God, and not to any man. He is deeply moved by this news as all of us would be but he reacts in a God honoring way – that God honoring way is prayer.
Again – we have seen in all types of situations that Hezekiah goes to God in prayer as his immediate reaction. We have seen it with things happening in his leadership and his country and now with health. What is going on in your life right now that you need to take to God in prayer? For me, I pray that in every situation in my life that I would take it directly to God right away – I am not there yet but it is getting better. How about you, are you taking everything directly to God right away? Are your reactions God honoring?
Share your thinking and thoughts on this?
Isaiah 37:1 – 2 – 1 And when King Hezekiah heard it, he tore his clothes, covered himself with sackcloth and entered the house of the LORD. 2 Then he sent Eliakim who was over the household with Shebna the scribe and the elders of the priests, covered with sackcloth, to Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz.
When Hezekiah the King faced an enemy that was much stronger than Israel, what was his reaction? His reaction was to humble himself before God. How did he show this humility? He did it by tearing his cloths which is a sign in the Jewish culture showing sorrow. Then he did not just pray but he went to them temple and prayed. You see in going directly to the temple was his showing that in the midst of this terrible situation he wanted to hear directly from God.
When you are facing rough times and when you have a situation that seems overwhelming – what do you do? Do you react with what one could call a godly reaction. As soon as we realize that we are in the middle of a difficult situation we should confess our sins which I posted about last week and then seek wisdom directly from God. These are two steps that are weapons that we have in dealing with spiritual enemies. You are never stronger than when you repent and seek the Lord.
Reactions speak volumes to a person’s character and to a person’s walk with God. Those people who at first sight of a problem that get angry or yell and scream and lose their minds in a situation are generally those who do not have a firm grip in their walk with God because that is not a God honoring way of dealing with any situation. Those who react by seeking to find out the whole truth of the matter, what part they played or did not play in it, those who seek God right away, those are the people who are showing a God honoring reaction. They are in a position to make a difference because God can and will use them. If you are angry, yelling, and over-reacting – you have just marginalized yourself and have put yourself in a position where you can not rightly speak for God or His ways. Again, your reactions to what life throws at you whether in your personal life, work life, or church life speak volumes to your character and relationship with Christ.
Let me ask you these tough questions – how do you react? Do you react to hard and difficult situations in anger or do you immediately seek God and His wisdom? I beg of you to begin to work hard on reacting in a Godly way because you will give opportunity for God to use the situation and you.
What do you think? Share your thoughts.