November 12 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me; they and their ancestors have been in revolt against me to this very day.” ~Ezekiel 2:3

OLD TESTAMENT

Ezekiel was a prophet and a contemporary of Jeremiah. When the Babylonians sacked Jerusalem in 597 BC, Ezekiel was carried off with the exiles, but he proclaimed the same message as Jeremiah, who was left behind. Unfortunately, the exiles Ezekiel ministered to, those settled in the city of Tel Abib on the Kebar River (a different Tel Aviv than the one in Israel), were as stubborn as the Judeans who remained on their land.

The book of Ezekiel begins with one of the most esoteric scenes in all of Scripture (the book of Revelation has some similarities). What is required for modern readers is a little imagination—not because the truths this imagery imparts aren’t true but because it is truth delivered in a most fantastical visual package. In the prophet’s vision, four fanciful creatures with four-sided faces and four wings move across the earth in all directions (north, south, east, and west). Four spherical objects, each resembling a celestial sphere (a globe with two circular latitude and longitude arms), move in tandem with the creatures. The spheres are covered with eyes, which means that they see everything and they move everywhere. The whole visual package is like something out of a sci-fi film or a steampunk novel.

What does it all mean? The God of Israel is the God of the universe who sees everything and knows everything. He sees His people in Babylon on the banks of the Kedar River, and He sees His people in Jerusalem beside the Kidron Valley. He sees the Babylonians and the Egyptians. He sees the entire earth. He even sees the hearts of His people, and He is not pleased with what He sees.

The vision causes the prophet to fall down in fear. He is in shock when he gets a glimpse of the awesome power of God to see and know! And now Ezekiel is charged with proclaiming this message. He must “eat” the Words of God and let them sink in, although they won’t be easy to stomach (Ezek. 2:8). He must go to the people and tell them that the God who sees absolutely everything is not pleased with them. Wow! What a job.

The sage best summarizes the simple message we can take from this reading: “The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good” (Prov. 15:3). That is enough to cause all of us to fall down on our faces and ask Him for mercy.  The holy God of the universe sees everything I do. He even sees my heart. Those who listen to His Word will be restored, and those who do not will answer to a holy God who sees everything.

NEW TESTAMENT

The layout of the tabernacle tells a story. Its design is an illustration (the Greek word is “parable”) first of the absolute holiness of God and then of the door opened for Christ-followers by His sacrifice. The holiest place in the tabernacle, set inside a larger holy space reserved for priests, could be entered only by the high priest and only with a blood sacrifice in hand.

When Christ died, the veil covering that doorway was torn (literally and figuratively) and now we can enter in. Not into the room, but into God’s presence. Christ is the sacrifice that makes a relationship with holy God possible for you and for me. We can never be holy enough to satisfy the all-seeing God; only Christ is enough!


Lectio Divina is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the senior pastor of Calvary Church in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.