As a part of my daily devotions I’m reading through the entire Bible. I have finished the New Testament and I’m now working my way through the Old Testament (from the back to the front – for a bit of a change). All in all, I’m enjoying the minor prophets, however, I have been a bit disturbed as I read through Zechariah and Daniel. So much of the end times prophecy contained in those books sounds like today’s society, which really scares me.
I’m currently reading the book of Ezekiel, and I have to tell you that this guy appears to be a complete nutter. I don’t know if God makes Ezekiel act weird so the people’s hearts will stay hardened against God’s word, or if the people were just so deranged that God had to use extreme measures to demonstrate his anger. Either way, I am having a difficult time managing the book because of all the strange symbolism, creepy visions, and outrageous actions.
Think about it, in today’s society, if a televangelist arrived on the scene and preached about a vision he had of huge angels with four different faces I don’t think I’d be able to listen to him. Or how about a preacher who spent 14 months laying naked on his side cooking his meals over an open fire and eating and drinking only at set times of the day (which also makes me wonder how he relieved himself – did he just go on himself, or was he allowed to get up)? Or how about a guy who draws pictures on bricks and then attacks them? Or a guy who shaves his body and then burns his own hair during a sermon? Or what about a guy who claimed to have seen a valley of dry bones that started to put themselves back together? Honestly, I’d probably think of him more as a “meth Minister” and not a prophet of God.
But sometimes God uses extreme measures to get across extreme messages. Time and time again throughout the Old Testament we see God trying to get the attention of his wayward people. His prophets are often outrageous characters with quirky personalities, but all of them are willing to be used by God – even when they are told up front that no one is going to like them or listen to them.
As I read through the books of the Old Testament, I am reminded over and over again that God has a plan for each of us, despite ourselves, if we are willing to listen and obey. If we’re willing to get out of our own way and allow God to be our mouthpiece He can and will accomplish amazing things through us.
“Dear Heavenly Father, you are such an awesome God! You give me so much, and so many times I forget to even acknowledge you and thank you for your blessings on my life. In many ways, I am no better than the Israelites of old. Thank you for the life of Ezekiel and what he can teach me about obedience and submission to you. Please keep me ever mindful of your will and your ways, and help me to be a willing vessel, which can be used by you for your purpose. It’s in your precious and holy name I pray, amen.”