Let’s be honest. Ezekiel is one of those books of the Bible that is a bit weird to read. So many crazy circumstances that at times, you might even be tempted to think Ezekiel was crazy.
But he wasn’t. Instead this unique book of the Bible offers us some incredible lessons about God that can help increase our faith today.
Lesson 1: God is Holy
Throughout the book of Ezekiel, the holiness of God is emphasized. In fact, the holiness of God and the need to proclaim it is one of the main reasons Ezekiel is writing this book. The book opens with a vision of the Lord’s glory. Immediately the reader sees the creatures coming from heaven going “wherever the Spirit wanted to go”. The chapter goes on to describe the throne of God, brilliant light, and the appearance of the Lord’s glory which caused Ezekiel to physically fall down. These descriptions create a picture of the holiness of God and how different God is from mankind.
We need to understand the holiness of God as well.
Oftentimes, the love and forgiveness of God are the characteristics focused on. While these are both true, when we don’t understand the holiness of God as well, sin doesn’t feel as heavy. It’s easy to not feel the weight of your sin when you don’t understand the weight of who you’re sinning against.
In addition, understanding the holiness of God helps you realize your need for a Savior. One of Israel’s problems was “they do not want to listen…” and are “hard headed and hardhearted.” When you simply see God as a kind-hearted and forgiving deity, you don’t necessarily listen to his advice or seek his wisdom. You tend to follow your own path.
It is only when you understand the holiness of God that you are able to live out Roman’s 12:1 and “offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God.” When you realize God is holy, you understand what you offer him must be holy as well. You become grateful for his forgiveness because you see your intense failures without it. In addition, your trust and ability to listen and follow Him will increase. Suddenly, your own desires are not as trustworthy as God’s.
The Israelites, in the time period of Ezekiel, had forgotten God was holy. They were content to follow their own paths. We need to learn from this mistake and remember the holiness of God in order to remember to seek holiness ourselves.
Lesson 2: God Reigns Over All Nations
God clearly shows throughout Ezekiel that he is sovereign over all nations. He begins by addressing Israel. He lets them know, through the words of Ezekiel, that he will bring “a sword against you, and I will destroy your high places…” God goes on to state he will destroy the altars and shrines and cities and high places. He then explains he will do all this so that the Israelites will finally know that he is the Lord.
This statement, “then you will know that I am the Lord” is one of the most common statements in this book. In fact, it is stated over 21 times. This statement shows God’s sovereignty. He is in control and will do radical things all so the Israelites will finally see that God is the one in control, not them, not a false god, not a powerful nation, and not their own wisdom.
We also often put God on the top shelf of our life.
We know he is there and intellectually understand he is sovereign but practically we ignore or forget to trust in his sovereignty. Instead, we look to a vaccine or a political party or a job promotion to give us security in life. We tend to set our minds on earthly things in order to feel secure and protected. But God reminds us clearly in Colossians 3:2 to set our minds on heavenly things. We are reminded throughout the New Testament that we have been raised with Christ. This means we are to keep our eyes and heart focused on God and not the earthly moments surrounding us. This is the lessons the Israelites also needed to learn and one of the reasons the book of Ezekiel is so important for us to read today.
Lesson 3: God Restores His People
The first 20 chapters of Ezekiel focus on the sinfulness and rebellion of Israel. Over and over again we read about the destruction about to happen because of their rebellion. It feels hopeless and discouraging.
But then, in the middle of chapter 20, we are reminded that God not only punishes the wicked but he also restores the faithful.
He reminds the Israelites that although they will be punished, God continues to reign over them. He “will bring you from the peoples and gather you from the countries where you were scattered…” God continues to be with them, even in the midst of their judgment and he will eventually “accept you as a pleasing aroma…” and will “lead you into the land of Israel, the land I swore to give your fathers…” Before the punishment and judgment had ever started, God already had a plan to restore his people back into fellowship with him.
We need to understand that God restores his children as well.
Often we get caught up in our sinfulness and feel guilt and shame for our past mistakes. Israel certainly could have lived in this shame as well. And God knows this about our humanity. This is why we read over and over again “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ” and “he will cleanse you from all unrighteousness”. Understanding God always restores his children helps us turn back to him when we have fallen away. We can have confidence that he will draw us close, accept us unconditionally, and forgive us regardless of what we have done. Seeing the intense sin the Israelites chose and God bringing them back into fellowship with him anyway, gives us the confidence to turn to God as well. We can be confident he will always restore our relationship with him.
Overall, Ezekiel is a powerful book with powerful lessons for us. Taking the time to read it will result in some powerful lessons from God.
You May Also Want To Read:
- The Book of Esther: How to apply these truths to your life
- Learning to Approach God in the Midst of Suffering: Lessons from Habakkuk
- Understanding the Power of Exodus
- How to Read the Hard Books of the Bible