Ezekiel 1:1-3:15, Hebrews 3:1-19, Psalms 104:1-23, Proverbs 26:24-26
Today is the 1st day of November. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I’m Brian and here we are at another threshold. So, even as we approach the end of the week, here we go into the 11th month of our year together. And, boy, we’ve been moving through some transitions over this past week as we move in and out of different books. And today as we begin the month of November, we’re going to begin a new book, the book of Ezekiel. And this book and this figure, and some of the things that happen in this book, they’re very personally meaningful to me. In fact, my wife and I, we named our son Ezekiel. So, before we dive in, let’s kind of explore with the territory that we will be moving into as we go through this book.
Introduction to the book of Ezekiel:
So, we remember Jeremiah, right? That was the book before last. And we journeyed through basically a couple of decades of his warning, prophetic utterances and then we read the book of Lamentations and we felt and saw and witnessed those prophecies coming true. And, so, today we’re at the threshold, obviously of this new month and a new book of prophecy. So, Ezekiel as a person was a well-educated man, his loyalty to God was deep, his faithfulness to the traditions of his people ran deep. He came from a priestly family and like Jeremiah, he was often instructed by God to symbolically act out his prophecies. And to kind of understand the time period, Jeremiah prophesied a little bit before, but also alongside Ezekiel, so, somewhat contemporary. But whereas Jeremiah was prophesying from Jerusalem about the fall of Jerusalem, right, about surrendering to Babylon and living. Remember all these prophecies? Ezekiel was prophesying essentially at the same time from exile in Babylon. So, in some ways it’s the other side of the coin where we get a, basically, a prophetic comprehensive view of the exile. Ezekiel lived in a climate of international struggle and upheaval. The Babylonian Empire had conquered the Assyrian Empire. Of course, it was the Assyrian Empire who conquered Israel, the northern 10 tribes. Now they’ve been conquered. Egypt and Babylon clashed within the land of ancient Israel, fighting over it because whoever got to possess that strip of land basically had control of the major trade routes between the lands to the north and the east and the continent of Africa. So, very, very desirable to control that piece of land. And at one point or another the Israelites had been allied with or…or subdued by all of these ancient empires, but Jerusalem had been destroyed. Rather, Judah would pay tribute and become a vassal that had change hands. All this happened during the generational decline in the kingly leadership that we were able to observe intimately as we moved through the books of Kings and Chronicles, right? Remember? We’d meet a new king and he did evil in the sight of the Lord. And we’d meet another king and he did good in the sight of the Lord. But we saw the trend declining down to this point. And then in 597 BC, the Babylonians did subdue Jerusalem and they did begin deporting people and Ezekiel was among the first to go into exile. So, then several years later the king that the Babylonians had put in place, king Zedekiah who Jeremiah prophesied to rebelled against Babylon, which was contrary to Jeremiah’s prophetic advice. And a in 588 then, the Babylonians came back and attacked Jerusalem and two years later they…they breached the wall and swept into the city and burned it to the ground and destroyed the temple of God. So, during Ezekiel’s earlier years in exile he prophesied about this. He prophesied that Jerusalem would be destroyed even as Jeremiah was prophesying the same thing from within Jerusalem. And after the fall of Jerusalem and the…and the temple was destroyed, the prophecies of Ezekiel transform into some of the most hope filled messages of renewal and restoration that we can find in the whole Bible. But that’s not all there is to Ezekiel. Ezekiel contains depictions that are almost like science fiction, almost cinematic visions that are similar to the visions of Daniel or the visions found in the book of Revelation. And these similarities are often cross-examined in the apocalyptic study of the end times or eschatology. With the visions, for as much scholarship has been given to them, they had a profound effect on Ezekiel himself and we can see that, and we can open ourselves to it as…as we read them. So, if…if were able to approach this book and the imagery inside of this book from the perspective of what it speaks to our hearts we’ll be able to revel in the texture that…that is just out in front of us allowing it to speak more like a sunrise speaks, right, in…in poetry, rather than how the morning newspaper speaks for example. So, we’re gonna camp out in the book of Ezekiel for a little while. It holds a tremendous amount of promise for us in our day and it…it’s one of the larger and most influential books of prophecy that are in the Bible at all. So, even though it’s ancient, right, and was written thousands of years ago, these prophecies tell of the ultimate hope and blessing that God has for us when we do one thing, return to Him. And, so, we begin. Ezekiel chapter 1 verse 1 through 3 verse 15 today. And we’re reading from the Amplified Bible this week.
Father, we thank You for Your word. We thank You for bringing us here into this new month, the 11th month of the year. And it’s amazing, the passage of time, but it’s also amazing how profoundly You…You have worked inside of our lives so far this year. And it will be easy enough to think we’re on the home stretch, but You have so much more to speak. And, so, Father as we begin the book of Ezekiel and we move into all of this imagery, we invite Your Holy Spirit to speak it into our hearts. For example, we’re talking about Spirits today with wheels that a life is in four faces and they move straight forward and sideways and up and down, we can look for what this might have to do with our lives today and yet we read of those beings that were empowered by Your spirit and the Scripture says that each went straight forward. Wherever the Spirit was about to go they would go without turning as they went. Father, that is our desire, that is the posture of heart that we desire to have on this earth as we are empowered by Your Spirit. So, come, help us to go straight forward wherever the Spirit leads. We will go without turning as we go. Come into that today Lord because there are many sets of circumstances in all of our lives. There are thousands and thousands of stories that are being told within this community alone, and this means something to many of us. And, so help us to live into it. Come Holy Spirit we pray. In the mighty name of Jesus, we ask. Amen.
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And that is it for today other than to say welcome to this brand-new month. Buckle up it’s going to be quite an adventure. But that’s it for today. I’m Brian I love you and I’ll be waiting for you here tomorrow.
Community Prayer and Praise:
Hey Daily Audio Bible family this is Kat from Wisconsin. I called in one other time I think a couple months ago, and I just want to ask for prayer for, well, you know, today seems like kind of a hard day. I don’t know why. Getting out of bed was just really tough today and I think about depression and how it really steals so much life from us and I just want to lift up specifically my brother who is…he’s a doctor and he just had a resident, a fellow resident, commit suicide. And I think it really shook him because he…he deals with those same dark thoughts. It just seems like that’s the…the enemy loves that and that’s…he just, you know, is putting his hands together in glee, thinking that he’s won and that he’s been victorious and you know that with God that’s not the whole story. But I just…I really pray…I guess I pray for those who are dealing with depression and other thoughts of ending their life. I just lift them up to God and I also want to just reach out on behalf of my brother too and I just thank this whole community. I’ve listened almost every day. I think I’ve missed a couple days but I’m, you know, here for the long haul for this whole year. And I just know there’s people on here that are so faithful in praying. And, so, I know God hears your prayer and I think it’s beautiful and I love…love hearing the prayers that the saints lift up. All right. Thanks so much everybody. Bye-bye.
Hey DAB family this is Byron out in Florida. I wanted to say hi to Mike Greenberg. Mike it was good to hear your voice. I’m so thankful for what you and Sarah Jane and tech people and of course the Hardin family do that bring us the DAB every single day that we all rely on so much. I’m so sorry for the unthinkable loss of what’s happened to your friend Dave and I pray for you and for him to be able to bring him some sort of comfort in this extremely difficult time. When you called you were fairly calm and composed but I get the feeling that to break a 10-year silence you must’ve been very broken up inside for your friend. And the Lord is broken up too. He hates death and all the darkness that consumes His children. And, so, I pray that in some way shape or form you’re able to express that sympathy to your friend and his family, that they might be comforted and find a way to move on in the Lord. I hope it’s not the last time we hear from you. Love you brother. Take care.
This is Candace from Oregon. I want to pray for adult children Maia and Kevin. Their parents called one after the other on the October 25th podcast. Thank You, Lord for these parents, for their hearts of love, for these dear, dear children. And thank You that Maia and Kevin, although they’ve been attacked by the enemy, they are people who want You Lord, they want the life that You have for them. And, so, I claim the full work of Jesus Christ on behalf of Maia, on behalf of Kevin. I rebuke all foul spirits, and every plan of the enemy I pray that it crumbles to dust and that these two emerge victorious because of the full work of Christ. Oh Lord, I pray that they walk forward bruised and battered but now healed with a renewed vision and with hearts filled with Your Holy Spirit and empowered by You Lord. Thank You, Lord for all that You have done on our behalf. Without You we can do nothing, but we can do all things in Christ who strengthens us. [singing starts] God our Savior is the sovereign Lord and we have strength [singing stops].
Hi everyone, it’s Christy again from Kentucky. I just wanted to say to Pastor Nick and Christine, just wanted to let you know that I am praying for your son Kevin who is bipolar and who’s now in critical condition and after stabbing himself. I’m praying for healing for him…for Kevin his body and his mind and his Spirit. Praying for travel mercies as you go from South Carolina to Michigan and also for provision when you get there. Mona in Dubai, I wanted to let you know I’m praying for your daughter Maia. She’s struggling in life. Also, for Chandra in Maryland, we stand in agreement in praying for children who are being bullied and who are contemplating suicide. Laura, I’m praying for you and your beautiful baby boy. Paul in Barcelona, I loved, loved, loved your message to Cindy. That is one of my most beautiful heartfelt stories in the Bible, when John reclines into Jesus so close, he can hear His heartbeat. Oh, one day Paul we will be there. Aaron in Oklahoma on praying for you and your wife. Max in Madison, praying for your depression brother and your anxiety. Grace in Tampa, praying __ for God’s will for your life. And Lisa in Sweden, praying for peace for your sister and her for her salvation. Maritsa, I’m playing for your sister Miguel and we are praying that you get a good pathologic…pathology report about his tumor. Asking for healing of the name of Jesus. Lola in Sidney your praying with you for the people who are fighting the fires in Lebanon asking that that is all gone and that no one would hurt __ or property destroyed. All right everybody. I love you guys so much. I pray each of you are having a most blessed and lovely day today.
Good morning I’m calling to pray for Pamela’s brother, Pamela from Christchurch who just called in. I just heard the message this morning. And I just first want to encourage you and tell you that a very, very dear friend of mine had a similar situation, a very kind and gentle man who had three sons and because of lies from his wife he was forbidden to see them and he paid child support faithfully every month. And as each son grew up and became an adult, they started to see the truth of the lies from their mother. And now all three boys have relationship with their father again, very close relationships, very close relationships. They’re a very close-knit foursome at this point and I just really what I encourage you and I want to lift up your brother. And just, Lord, I just lift up this man. You know his name and You know the circumstances and I pray Father that You would give him purpose beyond his children and that purpose would be You. Lord I pray that You would strengthen him when he feels weak, that You would give him the courage to go on, that he would trust You in the timing of the relationship with his children. And Lord I lift up the mother of these children and I pray Father that she would see that You are a God that will not be mocked, that so whatsoever a man says shall he also reap. And that goes for her choice at this point with her children to keep them away from their father. I pray Father that she would realize this quickly and very soon and that she would change and allow this relationship with their father to…
Hi family this is his little Cherry in Canada and I was scribbling in my journal this afternoon and it was about me but somehow it was also about Joe the worship leader in Seattle. So, Joe this is for both of us. Lord, look how kind You are how patient with me. Everyone who reads my story will stand in awe of You. Wow talk about generous they will say, those who can speak. The rest will stand and as I will. For once I will be oblivious to my issues, my stuff. I will simply be flabbergasted by the gentle way You care for me, the risks You take to trust me, the confidence You feel in my halfhearted yes. I will stand silent as the credits roll. You have written a masterpiece. My life and Your love, it’s disarming and mesmerizing the way the two tangle as one. And it’s all You’re doing. It’s You darling. You move as if it’s unrehearsed and how can it be. How do You do it? How wonderful are You? Thank You for this gasp that is Your faithfulness. I am so relieved that You are what matters. You are the hero, unmistakable, irresistible, so easily adored it’s like falling. Every eye is on You. Everyone has forgotten about me. What a gift that You are the God of my story. Frankly Lord I’m not sure how I’m doing in my relationship with You, but You are doing amazing in Your relationship with me.