Monday, May 23, 2016

glory, glory, sayonara? (Pt. 1)

(by Pastor Joe)
The word for today: Ezekiel 9 & 10
With all due respect to Julia Ward Howe, here is a less than Grammy-worthy interpretation of the beloved Battle Hymn of the Republic:
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the departure of the Lord (ch. 10 & 11)
He has wrecked me by the river where His visions left me floored (ch. 1 & 3)
He has shown me the depravity of those who break His Word (ch. 8)
His glory’s marching on
Glory, glory sayonara
Glory, glory sayonara
Glory, glory sayonara
His glory’s marching on
The book of Ezekiel is about the Glory of God. And this pitiful little paraphrase seeks to memorably communicate a little of what has happened in Ezekiel.
It starts with his initial call and that amazingly complex vision in chapter one where Ezekiel is utterly dumbfounded by the Glory of God (v. 28).
In chapter three, Ezekiel is so wrecked by the Glory of God, that he does nothing but sit overwhelmed for a week (v. 15).
In yesterday's reading (chapter 8), God in His Glory (v. 4) reveals to Ezekiel the rampant sin and idolatry in the Temple, a kind of twisted tour of depravity.
In today's chapters, we are once again centered in on the Glory of God. But these are not triumphant pages, they are in fact some of the saddest in all of Scripture. We have the slow, sad departure of God's glory as He moves from the Holy of Holies (aka Cherubim) to the threshold (9:3). Later the glory of God departs from the threshold (10:18). Tomorrow we will see God's glory head from there to the Mount of Olives (11:23), but I'll leave that for tomorrow's blogger!
Suffice it to say, God's Glory leaving is NEVER a good thing. But the tricky part in the whole matter is that no one every notices His absence until it's too late. The entire nation of Israel is painfully unaware of any kind of departure. Ezekiel alone is given insight to what the rest of the Israelites miss.
Consider Samson, champion and judge of Israel who, despite all of God's victories through him, found himself so far from God that he "did not know that the LORD had left him." (1)
Consider the sad tale concerning the death of the high priest Eli. Because of his spiritual blindness and obesity (mirrored in his real life by his actual physical condition), one tragic day left Israel with out the current High Priest (Eli), the future High priests (Hophni & Phineas), and the famed Ark of the Covenant. The only survivor in the whole mess from Eli's family is rightfully name Ichabod or "no glory." (2)
Consider the Son of God, the Glory of the One and Only Jesus Christ, who came to us in flesh, full of grace & truth (3). And yet the greatest revelation of God's glory was not even received by His own people (4).
Consider yourself, and how quick you, like the rest of humanity, are to ignorantly miss out on the very presence of the Living God. It's only from that place of rightfully weakness and humility were we can begin to avoid the same pitfalls.
(1) Judges 16:20 (2) 1 Samuel 4 (3) John 1:14 (4) John 1:11

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