Sermons

Summary: Enacted pulpit drama, with props and symbolic actions, as if the preacher were Ezekiel. Immorality and inattention will be judged by God, and until we repent of these we will not flourish.

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[Heaving silently, face contorted, head shaking]

Immorality and inattention. Immorality and inattention. These things are destroying our people. These things are going to bring God’s judgment on us. I just know it.

Immorality and inattention. Selfishness and self-centeredness. Wrong hearts and no hearts. Those are the issues. Judgment, judgment!

The thunder! The mighty thunder! I hear it sound within my soul. Look! Over there! A great cloud out of the north, fire, flashing fire! And in the midst of the fire something, someone, no, two, three, four creatures!

[Speechlessness, stammering]

Each of these creatures has four faces and four wings. Some of the faces are human faces; and some lions; some oxen and some eagles. What can this be? I have heard of no one since Isaiah nearly two hundred years ago who has seen such things! O God, be merciful to me; I am but a poor priest, and one in exile at that. I do not know what to make of all this.

Wait. On the earth. There. Beside each of the four living creatures, a wheel. Or more a wheel within a wheel, and with eyes on all their rims, turning, turning, ceaselessly turning.

And now, above it all. Something gleaming like amber, something shining like sapphire. Fire. Fire. Splendor!. Glory! Glory!

[Fall on face]

I

Can it be that God is calling me to prophesy? Would God gather me up, me, Ezekiel, once a priest of the Temple in Jerusalem, but now way out here in Babylon by the river Chebar?

Oh, how awesome is this God! We had thought, once we were taken from our homeland and carried away into captivity in Babylon, that we were apart from Him. We had thought that His power would not reach this far, and so we hung up our Temple harps by the rivers of Babylon, we flung away our Psalm books, and we sat down to weep for all that was lost.

But we were wrong. We were so dreadfully wrong. God is here too. Wherever we are, there He can find us; if we run from Him, He follows us. If we take the wings of the morning and rush into the uttermost parts of the sea, there His right hand finds us. And if we think we can ignore Him, the roar of His cataracts and the voice like a mighty thunderstorm still reaches us.

Immorality and inattention. Selfishness and self-centeredness. Wrong hearts and no hearts. Those are the issues. Judgment, judgment!

[Speechlessness, stammering]

You must understand, I am only a little over thirty years old. Jehoiachin, our king, was taken captive five years ago, and we, the leaders of his people, are spending our days in Babylon worrying about Jerusalem and how they fare under Zedekiah. Zedekiah, after all, is nothing but a puppet king, placed there by the emperor Nebuchadnezzar to keep the people quiet. But we are hearing disturbing rumors … rumors about Egypt and a secret alliance that Zedekiah has made. It sounds dangerous to us.

So let me tell you how we came to this place.

I was working alongside my father Buzi, ministering in the Temple in Jerusalem. How I loved every bit of that work! What delight I took in its rich detail: in vestments and in decoration, in sacrifices and in the singing of psalms. The rich tapestries of the people of God at worship thrilled my soul. It seemed so right, so permanent. It seemed it need never end. I would love to have spent the rest of my days in the Temple before God’s altar.


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