Week 35

The city has fallen. The battle is lost. The exile has begun! We continued to see this
terrible event through the eyes of Jeremiah who is left behind in the rubble with other survivors.
The visions of Ezekiel are tough. They are violent, vengeful, and destructive. After a while, we can grow weary of the aggressive messages given to this prophet by God.
Ezekiel is adding a new word to our vocabulary: “apocalypse.” We think that word means “the end of the world”, and it can. But it takes on another meaning. It can also mean a “clearing away” or “a revealing.” Up until now, we have seen the prophetic call ofGod through the work of prophets like Jeremiah and Isaiah. They are the ones who
point out what is wrong and urge us to change. The prophet’s call is a call to reform,
to renewal, and to repair. But as we have seen, sometimes the only way to fix
something is to scrap it and start all over from scratch. That is the apocalyptic work ofGod. In other words, God can continue to use white-out to repeatedly correct, or God
can crumple up the mistakes and start over with a fresh, clean piece of paper. This is
Apocalypse. It is clearing away what has gone utterly wrong and revealing a better
way in its place. Is this bad news? Only if you are utterly wrong and standing in the
way of the good that God is revealing. This apocalyptic change is good news to those who are the victims of powerful systems of evil and oppression and cannot save themselves. In these strange visions of Ezekiel, God is giving hope to those who cannot
defend themselves by clearing away the violent, the powerful, and the oppressive. But there is hope. Even though God is scrapping Jerusalem to start over with a clean
sheet of paper, the destruction is not permanent. Ezekiel wanders into a valley of dry sun-bleached bones and is asked whether or not the bones can ever live again. It
seems impossible. They are too far gone. This is not a valley of ill patients who, with
the right care, might pull through. These are not even skeletons! They are scattered
bones. But even these scattered bones are not too far gone for God.
As you read, ask yourself these questions. “What in our world is in desperate need of
repair? Why is it not being fixed? What in our world can only be fixed by scrapping it
and starting over from scratch? Is anything in this world too far gone for God?” Read
on…this future of God is being revealed. Ezekiel will give us a glimpse of it!
Keep reading and I’ll see you in the Bible!

Aug 27 Ezekiel 1-4 Visions for the Exiles in Babylon
Aug 28 Ezekiel 5-8 Prophetic Demonstrations
Aug 29 Ezekiel 9-12 Visions To Explain Israel’s Defeat
Aug 30 Ezekiel 13-15 Israel Lives With the Consequences
Aug 31 Ezekiel 16-17 Israel’s Covenant is a Faithless Marriage
Sep 1 Ezekiel 18-19 Covenant Faithfulness Explained
Sep 2 Ezekiel 20-21 Prophecies Against Jerusalem