So, if you couldn’t guess from my last post, I’ve been reading the good ole book of Jeremiah in my journey to read about the story of the Israelites chronologically. As I finished Jeremiah, my next plan was to read Ezekiel. I was excited at first, because, while Jeremiah had his depressing moments, his prophecies of God’s promises to restore Israel and take care of them even in exile were very encouraging to me. So I thought, bring it on Ezekiel!
But I’m twenty chapters in now, and I’m tired of reading about exile.* I want to get to Ezra and start reading about the return of the Israelites to the Promised Land. (I know it’s going to be similar, but at least I can jump to a different time frame.) It’s tiring to read over and over again about Israel’s sin, the same sins, over and over, and God’s plan to punish, purify, and restore them.
However, it is sobering too. Because of Israel’s sins, God drove them into exile, destroyed Jerusalem, and killed many, in order for His just nature to be satisfied. He would again tend to them and turn His face toward them, but justice had to be enacted first. And still He loved His people. And still he pleaded with them to stop following false idols and come back to Him.
We no longer live in an age where exile and punishment are necessary to satisfy the righteous anger of God. Centuries after the Israelites returned to their inherited land and still continued to sin, God decided to come to earth and take the wrath Himself. And that just blows my mind.
Reading Ezekiel has been challenging, and I almost wanted to skip it, since I’ve read it already before and it’s all about the same themes as Jeremiah, but I’m glad to stick with it now. The book of Ezekiel recounts God’s overwhelming power and surpassing greatness that the prophet sees in his visions, and recounts how that powerful God has complete sovereignty and deserves all of our honor and praise, and all of our very lives. It also shows how God acts on His words. He warned the Israelites, and they didn’t listen, and now what He already spoke is being fulfilled. It has to, because He is just and righteous.
And yet that power, the power of One full of fire, surrounded by brilliant light on a throne of sapphire,** loved and loves relentlessly this crooked creation, and confined Himself to flesh to dwell among us and take our punishment upon Him. I know I seem to be saying this a lot in recent posts, but that is a good thing. I want to declare the Gospel, I want to walk in this, live by this, marvel at this daily. All of the Bible speaks of Christ, even the books of exile, and I love it.
Ezekiel means “God Strengthens.” I’ve moved from God will uplift, to God will strengthen. More in the days to come. <3
*Don’t worry, I found the need to balance it out with some New Testament letters. Currently I’m in Philippians.
**See Ezekiel 1:25-28 for a description of the prophet’s vision of God.