Sunday, August 26, 2012

August 26, 2012 … A Watchman on the Wall

Chronological Bible Reading Plan - Day 239 

Passage of the Day: Reference of Today’s Chronological Bible Study: Ezekiel 1-4 [NLT] To study these chapters, go to this link -

Highlight Passage: Ezekiel 1: 1-6; 15-18; 26-28 : [NLT] … 1 On July 31 of my thirtieth year, while I was with the Judean exiles beside the Kebar River in Babylon, the heavens were opened to me, and I saw visions of God. 2 This happened during the fifth year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity. 3 The LORD gave a message to me, Ezekiel son of Buzi, a priest, there beside the Kebar River in the land of the Babylonians, and I felt the hand of the LORD take hold of me. 4 As I looked, I saw a great storm coming toward me from the north, driving before it a huge cloud that flashed with lightning and shone with brilliant light. The fire inside the cloud glowed like gleaming amber. 5 From the center of the cloud came four living beings that looked human, 6 except that each had four faces and two pairs of wings. … 
15 As I looked at these beings, I saw four wheels on the ground beneath them, one wheel belonging to each. 16 The wheels sparkled as if made of chrysolite. All four wheels looked the same; each wheel had a second wheel turning crosswise within it. 17 The beings could move forward in any of the four directions they faced, without turning as they moved. 18The rims of the four wheels were awesomely tall, and they were covered with eyes all around the edges. … 
26 Above the surface over their heads was what looked like a throne made of blue sapphire. And high above this throne was a figure whose appearance was like that of a man. 27 From his waist up, he looked like gleaming amber, flickering like a fire. And from his waist down, he looked like a burning flame, shining with splendor. 28 All around him was a glowing halo, like a rainbow shining through the clouds. This was the way the glory of the LORD appeared to me. When I saw it, I fell face down in the dust, and I heard someone’s voice speaking to me.
Highlight Passage: Ezekiel 2: 1-5 : [NLT] … 1 “Stand up, son of man,” said the voice. “I want to speak with you.” 2 The Spirit came into me as he spoke and set me on my feet. I listened carefully to his words. 3 “Son of man,” he said, “I am sending you to the nation of Israel, a nation that is rebelling against me. Their ancestors have rebelled against me from the beginning, and they are still in revolt to this very day. 4 They are a hard-hearted and stubborn people. But I am sending you to say to them, ‘this is what the Sovereign LORD says! ’ 5 And whether they listen or not — for remember, they are rebels — at least they will know they have had a prophet among them.
Highlight Passage: Ezekiel 3: 1-4; 10-11; 14; 15-17 : [NLT] … 1 The voice said to me, “Son of man, eat what I am giving you — eat this scroll! Then go and give its message to the people of Israel.” 2 So I opened my mouth, and he fed me the scroll. 3 “Eat it all,” he said. And when I ate it, it tasted as sweet as honey. 4 Then he said, “Son of man, go to the people of Israel with my messages. … 
10 Then he added, “Son of man, let all my words sink deep into your own heart first. Listen to them carefully for yourself. 11 Then go to your people in exile and say to them, ‘this is what the Sovereign LORD says!’ Do this whether they listen to you or not.” … 
14 The Spirit lifted me up and took me away. I went in bitterness and turmoil, but the LORD’s hold on me was strong. ... 
15 Then I came to the colony of Judean exiles in Tel-abib, beside the Kebar River. I sat there among them for seven days, overwhelmed. 16 At the end of the seven days, the LORD gave me a message. He said, 17 “Son of man, I have appointed you as a watchman for Israel. Whenever you receive a message from me, pass it on to the people immediately.
Highlight Passage: Ezekiel 4: 1-3 : [NLT] … 1 “And now, son of man, take a large brick and set it down in front of you. Then draw a map of the city of Jerusalem on it. 2 Build siege ramps against the city walls. Surround it with enemy camps and battering rams. 3 Then take an iron griddle and place it between you and the city. Turn toward it and demonstrate how the enemy will attack Jerusalem. This will be a warning to the people of Israel. [Followed by God’s instructions for Ezekiel’s demonstration to illustrate the punishment God would inflict through the Babylonians on Jerusalem for their over 400 years of disobedience.]
Cross Reference Passage: Joshua 1: 1-9 : [NLT] … To study this passage, go to this link

My Journal for Today: Big, BIG gulp from the fire hydrant of truth today – the first four books in Ezekiel’s journal of his prophetic mission/ministry to the captive peoples in Babylon after God’s people in Judah had been conquered and some of them dispersed to Babylon.

In Chapter ONE, we read of Ezekiel, this man who had been trained to be a Priest in Judah, receiving a vision of God’s glory and heaven; and in this vision (Chapter TWO), Ezekiel is given a charge by God to go and preach repentance and hope to the Jewish captives in Babylon, people that God warned would be hard-hearted and rebellious. And God’s Spirit (in Chapter THREE) gives this priestly prophet encouragement as well as instructions on taking in God’s word himself and then carrying the message faithfully and obediently to the people – much as the WATCHMAN for God’s people. And then (in Chapter FOUR), God’s Spirit guided Ezekiel on how to demonstrate – with Ezekiel’s commitment – repentance and the only hope that these people had, which was to turn around and follow God’s word to find His will.

And as I was reading/studying these chapters in Ezekiel’s Spirit-inspired journaling today, especially in Chapter 3, I was reminded of God’s earlier call to Joshua after Moses had died, which I’ve linked you to study if you’re reading along with me here. Remember how God somehow appeared to Joshua and gave him a threefold word of challenge and encouragement in Joshua 1: 1-9; and God did the same thing for Ezekiel as well, calling the Prophet to a specific task, and promising His servant, that if he consumed and stayed in God’s word that Ezekiel, like Joshua, would be successful in carrying out God’s will (see Joshua 1: 8 and Ezekiel 3: 10-11).

And my dear ones, we are also called to be God’s watchmen on the walls of His kingdom. God, through Christ, has given us His charge of discipleship and His mission to follow as well (see Luke 4: 18-19, Luke 9: 23, Acts 1: 8, and Matt. 28: 19-20). And His promise – just like the promise to Joshua and Ezekiel, is that He – our God – will be with us, providing us His enabling grace, as long as we stay obedient to His word and stay true to His will.

And so, in meditating on Ezekiel’s vision and calling this morning, I’ve been led – by God’s Spirit I believe – to ask myself if I’m being COMPLETELY obedient to God’s calling on my life to be His watchman and His witness to His people. Are you, as you read this, consuming God’s word and taking the truths of Scripture to not only the lost, but to the wayward believers of this world as well? I believe we’re all – as Christians – called to be, or become, God’s watchmen (and women) on the walls of His kingdom.

So … ARE WE?

My Prayer Today: … Lord, I know Your calling for me to be Your Watchman. I pray that I am doing so for Your glory! Amen

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