Ezekiel 1:1-3:15, Hebrews 3:1-19, Psalms 104:1-23, Proverbs 26:2n.24-26s
Today is the 1st day of November. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I’m Brian. It’s great to be here with you today as we walk into this new month together. Month eleven of the year. And if you can believe it, by the time we get out of this month, we will be fully immersed in the Christmas season, which is pretty hard to believe, but this is where we are in our year and this is how far we’ve come in the Bible. So, we have been reading from the book of Lamentations in our Old Testament reading and we concluded that yesterday, which brings us to a new book of prophecy known as Ezekiel. And this prophet, Ezekiel, appears to have been a well-educated person who was deeply loyal to God and also to the traditions of his people. He came from a priestly family and, like Jeremiah, he was often instructed by God to symbolically act out his prophecies. Jeremiah and Ezekiel were prophesying around the same time. But it’s fairly interesting because, whereas Jeremiah prophesied from Jerusalem, Ezekiel was prophesying at around the same time from exile in Babylon. So, two prophets kind of at either end of the equation. So, during this time, the climate of international struggle and upheaval was prevalent. The Assyrian empire had been conquered by the Babylonian empire. Egypt and Babylon clashed within the land of ancient Israel because possessing that land, that little strip of land, allowed whoever ruled that strip of land to control the major trade routes between lands to the north and east and the continent of Africa. And because of this, at one point or another, the Israelites had all been allies of and then subsequently subdued by all of these ancient empires. But Jerusalem had not been destroyed. Rather, Judah would pay tribute and become like a vassal that changed hands. And this all happened during the generational decline in the kings’ leadership that we totally read about as we were moving through the books of Kings and Chronicles. And then in 597 BC, the Babylonians subdued Jerusalem and began to deport people and take them into exile. And Ezekiel was among the first to go into exile. And several years later, and we read of this when we were reading the book of Jeremiah, this king that had been put in place named Zedekiah rebelled against Babylon, even though Jeremiah was clearly pleading and prophesying not to do that. And then in 588, the Babylonians, they came and they laid siege. And they eventually conquered, and they completely destroyed Jerusalem a few years later. So, Ezekiel had been taken into exile and in those early years, he prophesied of Jerusalem’s destruction, even as Jeremiah was prophesying the same thing from Jerusalem if they didn’t surrender. And as we know, they didn’t. And after the fall of Jerusalem and the temple was completely destroyed, then the prophesies of Ezekiel from exile transform into some of the most hope-filled messages of renewal and restoration that we’ll find in the whole Bible. But Ezekiel also contains these descriptions that are almost, like, cinematic, apocalyptic visions that aren’t unlike the visions of Daniel or the visions found in the book of Revelation. And because of that, the parallels are often cross-examined in the apocalyptic study of the end times known as eschatology. But these weren’t just disembodied visions that Ezekiel had in some kind of weird dream. They had a pretty great impact on him personally. And the same can happen for us as we read them. If we’re able to approach the book and the imagery from the perspective of what it speaks to our hearts, we’ll be able to engage and enjoy the deep and rich textures allowing to speak to us like a sunrise would rather than how the morning newspaper does. The book of Ezekiel holds a lot of promise for us and it’s one of the larger and influential books of prophecy we have in the Bible. And even though we’re reading a book that’s thousands of years old, it tells of an ultimate hope and a blessing that God has for us when we return to him. And so with that, we’re reading from the New Living Translation this week. Ezekiel 1:1-3:15.
Father, we thank You for Your word. We thank You for this new threshold that we’ve walked into into the book of Ezekiel and we invite Your Holy Spirit to speak to us. Everything that we need to hear, everything that we need to feel. We open our hearts to You. And we also make notice of the fact that we have entered into the eleventh month of this year. And once again we take a moment at this line of demarcation to look back and rejoice in Your faithfulness. You have certainly brought us this far, and we have certainly walked through plenty of drama. And yet here we are, and You have been faithful. And, so, we take note of this, we acknowledge this and along with the psalmist we declare, let all that we are praise the Lord. O Lord our God, how great You are. You are robed with honor and majesty. You are dressed in a robe of light. You stretch out the starry curtain of the heavens. Father, that You are Almighty God and father to us at the same time is overwhelming. And when it sinks in, when we get this glimpse of the reality, we wonder why we would worry and fret about anything. The Lord of heaven’s armies, the creator of all things both seen and unseen, is our father. And, so, we rejoice in You and we worship You, Father. Come, Holy Spirit, we pray. Lead us firmly and rightly and clearly into this next month. We submit ourselves to You. We open ourselves to You completely. Come Holy Spirit, we pray. In Jesus name. Amen.
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And that’s it for today. I’m Brian I love you and I’ll be waiting for you here tomorrow.