Scripture reading – Ezekiel 1-4
Our chronological reading schedule of the Bible brings us today to the Book of Ezekiel and a focus on the ministry of the man whose name it bears. Today’s devotional commentary will serve as an introduction of Ezekiel and will focus on chapter 1.
Ezekiel 1:1-3 – The Prophet Ezekiel
Ezekiel was a contemporary of Jeremiah in the latter years of that prophet’s ministry in Jerusalem. Unlike Jeremiah, who had been left to minister to the remnant of Jerusalem after that city’s destruction, Ezekiel had been carried to Babylon as one of the captives of Nebuchadnezzar. Ezekiel was also a contemporary of the prophet Daniel; however, there is no indication in the Scriptures that the two men would have known one another.
A few other details are given concerning Ezekiel and his calling to be a prophet. The opening verse of the Book of Ezekiel introduce him as a thirty-year-old man. Assuming he was taken captive when Jehoiachin, king of Judah, was taken prisoner five years earlier (1:2), we can deduce Ezekiel was about twenty-five years old when he arrived in Babylon.
Another important detail of Ezekiel was that he was of a priestly lineage (1:3). Because priest were trained and began serving in their office when they were thirty years old, we know he was prepared to serve the LORD and His people, having knowledge of the Law and Commandments, the Temple and its rituals (of course, the Temple was destroyed), and the function of the priesthood.
Ezekiel would spend his life in Babylon encouraging God’s people to remember the prophecies that when seventy years were accomplished, the LORD had promised He would remember His people and restore them to their land where they would rebuild the Temple, their homes, Jerusalem and the nation.
Ezekiel 1 – The Calling and Commission of Ezekiel
While Ezekiel had been preparing his whole life to serve the LORD as His priest, that calling suddenly changed when we read, “The word of the LORD came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest…and the hand of the LORD was there upon him” (1:3).
Ezekiel found himself moved from the esteemed ministry of a priest, to the prophet of God charged with confronting the sins of His people and calling them to repentance. With a wonderful, poetic flare, Ezekiel looked toward heaven as the clouds were rolled back and heaven appeared as a fire of molten bronze (1:4). Four heavenly beings with the “likeness of a man” appeared (1:5). They were Cherubim whose descriptions are given in Ezekiel 1:5-14 as having four faces, four wings, and whose likeness was as bright and fiery as “burning coals of fire” (1:13). These angels served the bidding of God’s spirit (1:12) and “ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning” (1:14). The Cherubim’s readiness to serve the LORD is portrayed as each had a wheel with a rim or inner circle “full of eyes” (1:18) and they went where the Spirit of God sent them (1:20).
Ezekiel also describes a vision of heaven with an expanse describes as “crystal” (1:22). The Cherubim, with fluttering wings so loud the noise was described “like the noise of great waters, as the voice of the Almighty, the voice of speech, as the noise of an host [a great army]: when they stood, they let down their wings” (1:24). When God’s voice was suddenly heard, the wings of the Cherubim were stilled and heaven was silent (1:25).
Ezekiel is given a vision of God, portrayed in the likeness of man and sitting on His throne of “sapphire stone” (1:26). From his waist up, the appearance of God was a fiery molten metal (1:27a), and from his waist down He had the “appearance of fire” (1:27b). God’s glory is described as the brightness of a brilliant rainbow in the sky (1:28a).
When Ezekiel gazed upon God in all His glory and heard Him speak, Ezekiel writes, “I fell upon my face” (1:28).
Imagine how much you and I would be changed if we, by faith, gazed upon God in all His heavenly glory!
2 Corinthians 3:18 – “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith