Ezekiel 1:1-28; Hebrews 3:1-12; Psalms 103:1-12; Proverbs 22:14
OT: “In the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month, while I was among the exiles by the Chebar Canal, the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God… I looked, and there was a whirlwind coming from the north, a huge cloud with fire flashing back and forth and brilliant light all around it. In the center of the fire, there was a gleam like amber. The likeness of four living creatures came from it, and this was their appearance: They looked something like a human, but each of them had four faces and four wings… Over the heads of the living creatures the likeness of an expanse was spread out. It gleamed like awe-inspiring crystal… A voice came from above the expanse over their heads; when they stopped, they lowered their wings. Something like a throne with the appearance of lapis lazuli was above the expanse over their heads. On the throne, high above, was someone who looked like a human. From what seemed to be his waist up, I saw a gleam like amber, with what looked like fire enclosing it all around. From what seemed to be his waist down, I also saw what looked like fire. There was a brilliant light all around him. The appearance of the brilliant light all around was like that of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day. This was the appearance of the likeness of the Lord’s glory. When I saw it, I fell facedown and heard a voice speaking.” (Ezekiel 1:1, 4-6, 22, 25-28 CSB)
The book of Ezekiel was written by Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi. He was most likely trained in the priesthood during the reign of King Jehoiakim and was among the exiles deported to Babylon. For a time, his ministry overlapped the ministry of Jeremiah. Jeremiah remained in Jerusalem and witnessed the fall of the city. Ezekiel was exiled some ten years before the fall of Jerusalem. While Jeremiah spoke first-hand to those living in Jerusalem, Ezekiel wrote to the inhabitants of Jerusalem from his place in exile, warning them of the judgement to come.
The book of Ezekiel began with Ezekiel’s account of the first time he heard God’s voice and received a prophetic vision. Ezekiel was not in Israel – he was in exile in Babylon by one of the canals off the Euphrates river when God appeared. God is not limited by time or space. He can speak to anyone, anywhere at anytime, provided they have eyes willing to see and ears willing to hear. Ezekiel’s vision began by seeing a whirlwind filled with lightning and fire.
The approaching whirlwind is significant. God spoke to Job out of a whirlwind (Job 38:1). When Elijah encountered God on Mt. Horeb, God first approached him in a great and mighty wind (1 Kings 19:11). When the Lord’s chariot of fire came to take Elijah away, he was swept up into heaven in a whirlwind (2 Kings 2:11). The vision that Ezekiel experienced was the approaching chariot of the Lord. At the very top of the chariot, that was directed by the Spirit of God and accompanied by amazing heavenly creatures, was a throne…and seated on the throne was someone who looked like a human. From that human figure emanated the appearance of the likeness of God’s glory… and that appearance of the likeness of God’s glory was so glorious that it caused Ezekiel to fall facedown in awestruck wonder.
NT: “Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession. He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was in all God’s household. For Jesus is considered worthy of more glory than Moses, just as the builder has more honor than the house. Now every house is built by someone, but the one who built everything is God. Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s household, as a testimony to what would be said in the future. But Christ was faithful as a Son over his household. And we are that household if we hold on to our confidence and the hope in which we boast. Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness, where your ancestors tested me, tried me, and saw my works for forty years. Therefore I was provoked to anger with that generation and said, “They always go astray in their hearts, and they have not known my ways.” So I swore in my anger, “They will not enter my rest.” Watch out, brothers and sisters, so that there won’t be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.” (Hebrews 3:1-12 CSB)
The writer of Hebrews called those in the faith to consider Jesus. The Greek word for consider means to observe and understand… to fix your eyes and your mind on… to fully behold. In considering Jesus, we must remember what was said about Jesus in chapter 1 of this book: that Jesus Christ, though a man, is the Son of God, the radiance of God’s glory and the exact expression of God’s nature. With that said, consider Ezekiel’s vision of a man seated on the heavenly throne that emanated so much glory that it caused Ezekiel to fall on his face. That figure in Ezekiel’s vision was the pre-incarnate Christ. That awesome heavenly figure is our Great Apostle (the one sent forth from God) and Great High Priest (the bridge and mediator to God). He is not merely a servant of the household of God – He is God’s faithful Son and Heir over God’s household. That is who we serve in faith. That is who we proclaim as Lord. Considering who Christ is, it is of utmost importance that we hear His voice, listen to His voice, and obey His voice in faith, love and devotion. As we hold onto our confidence and hope in the Lord Jesus Christ, we remain in Him and in God’s blessed household. However, if we stop considering Jesus and harden our hearts against Him, we risk forfeiting our eternal future in Him.
Psalms: “My soul, bless the Lord, and all that is within me, bless his holy name. My soul, bless the Lord, and do not forget all his benefits. He forgives all your iniquity; he heals all your diseases. He redeems your life from the Pit; he crowns you with faithful love and compassion. He satisfies you with good things; your youth is renewed like the eagle. The Lord executes acts of righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. He revealed his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel. The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in faithful love. He will not always accuse us or be angry forever. He has not dealt with us as our sins deserve or repaid us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his faithful love toward those who fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalms 103:1-12 CSB)
Part of considering Jesus involves blessing (praising, celebrating, thanking, adoring) the Lord and not forgetting all the benefits we have in Him. All of these benefits listed here by King David find their ultimate fulfillment, and are “Yes” and “Amen” in Christ. As we consider Christ for Who He is and all the blessings He has provided for us through His life, death and resurrection, let it move us to bless the Lord with all that is within us. That is the worship that He deserves.
Prayer: Lord, as I consider Who You are, what You have done for me, all the blessings You lavish on me and all the benefits that I have in You, my spirit compels me to bless Your holy name. You are worthy of all my praise and all my worship. Help me to never forget Your greatness, Your goodness and Your faithfulness – and as Your Holy Spirit helps me to remember, help me to keep my confidence and hope in You and walk obediently in Your word, will and ways. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.