Summary: Based on Ezekiel's vision we are asked to prayerfully consider how 'deep' we are into the ways and service of God and His kingdom.
OT reading: Ezekiel 47: 1-6 (especially v.6)
SERMON – Deeper and deeper; (the level of our commitment).
Chapters 40 to 48 of the Book of Ezekiel contain accounts of visions
God showed the Prophet in the 25th year
of Israel's exile in Babylon.
Some of the visions were to remind the Jews of what they had lost,
to chastise them;
others were visions of good things to come,
to encourage them.
The vision in 47: 1-6 can be taken as a challenge,
where God wants to ascertain the depth of Israel's commitment to Him.
Try to picture the scene: Ezekiel stands in water up to his ankles.
Then he goes deeper into the water until the water was up to his knees.
Then he goes further out until the water was up to his waist.
Then in deeper until the water was deep enough to swim in.
Water is usually associated with cleansing, purification, forgiveness;
but here I think it is the DEPTH of the water that is significant
What was the meaning of Ezekiel's vision?
What was God trying to tell him?
What was God trying to Israel?
What is God trying to tell us?
Jesus went in deep for us –
He gave up his life so that WE could have salvation,
but before He died, Jesus said in Matthew 24
that many would "fall away" before his 2nd coming,
and people have been "falling away" since the beginning of time,
in the sense of only being prepared to follow God when the going is easy,
but not when the going gets rough, as symbolised by "deep water".
Adam and Eve had absolutely everything going for them in the Garden of Eden
and there was only one Law or rule, but they broke it.
They were not "deep water" people.
In Genesis 6, 7 and 8 we read about Noah and his family
being saved from the worldwide flood because Noah was "a righteous man".
He was prepared to "go in deep", building a boat for God in the middle of the desert.
But in Genesis 9 we read how Noah got drunk and lay about naked,
to the embarrassment of his sons,
so his "depth" was not permanent.
Lot was prepared to "go in deep",
as we can see by his unwillingness to compromise with the homosexual rapists - Sodomisers - in Sodom and Gomorrah
and because of this he was saved from death
when God hurled fire and brimstone down
because of the inhabitants' sinfulness,
but Lot's wife looked back, and was turned into a pillar of salt.
She was not prepared to go as deeply into the water of Godly commitment
as her husband.
Jonah was used by God as a prophet, but he disobeyed God, which led to him being thrown in the ocean, and ending up in the belly of a whale.
He did not want to go in deep, but God made sure he did - literally.
There have been very few people like Joseph,
who went to prison in Egypt rather than sin against God and his employer
by sleeping with his employer's wife.
There have been very few people like Daniel,
who was prepared to die in a den of lions, rather than stop praying to Almighty God.
That's very deep.
God wanted Israel to go on a journey with Him,
not just a physical one which would take them out of slavery in Egypt,
through the waters of the Reed Sea,
and into the Promised Land,
but one that would see them becoming different from every other race and tribe
because their journey would be a spiritual one.
They would cease to be ordinary tribes people of the Middle East
and would become a holy people, a royal priesthood, Lights to the Gentiles,
IF they were prepared to go deep, not deep into physical H2O,
but deep into commitment with God.
Whereas the OT is about God's Covenant with one tribe
which God called to "go deeper" with Him,
the NT sees the Covenant relationship widened to include all mankind,
but God's will is frustrated by those who are frightened to get their feet wet
and unwilling to commit themselves 100%.
Simon Peter, Cephas the fisherman, left his family and business to follow Jesus
and become a disciple.
He was in so deep that in Matthew 16:18 Jesus appointed Peter
the leader of the apostles,
but 3 years later he denied Jesus three times before the cock crowed
because he did not want to suffer the same fate as his Master.
The depth was too much for him at that time,
but later he repented of his cowardice and was forgiven,
and he was given a 2nd chance.
Then he showed how deep he was in to God