News for the week of Monday, May 26, 2014

Sunday School Lesson — Explore the Bible
June 1: When Your World Crumbles
By Shawn Allred
pastor, FBC, Bruceton

Focal Passage: Ezekiel 1:1-3; 1:28-2:5; 6:7-10

Recently, the Midwest and South were hit with devastating storms and tornados reportedly claiming the lives of 36 people and causing widespread damage. Many homes and businesses were without electricity, many families’ homeless, and many devastated and without hope. As Tennessee Baptists our prayers and actions were turned to these areas as we sought to bring comfort and peace in the midst of devastation. 

More personally for all of us we are faced with personal struggles or the struggles of those we know. It is during these times of turmoil and difficulties we can feel our lives crumbling round about us. But God’s Word offers peace, comfort, and stability in a fragile world.

Ezekiel was a man not spared the harshness of this fallen world. Ezekiel, a prophet of God, was exiled during the Babylonian captivity and was called by God to address the Judean exiles who God himself described as “the rebellious pagans who have rebelled against Me” (Ezekiel 2:3). Not only had Ezekiel personally experienced hardship through exile, but God was calling him to prophesy to a rebellious and unheeding people. One has to believe Ezekiel would never have planned this kind of life. Yet in the midst of difficult times and circumstances, we see the resolve and resilience of the faith of this God-called man Ezekiel.

We can learn a wonderful lesson from Ezekiel about dealing with life’s uncertainties and difficulties. Ezekiel’s life was interrupted by a series of unsavory circumstances. He found solace in the fact that God’s hand was upon him (see Ezekiel 1:2). God’s Word is available for us and will strengthen and encourage us in times of need.

Not only did Ezekiel find a source of strength in the Word of God, but also in the revealed glory of God. Ezekiel’s encounter with the coming and revealed glory of God is remarkable indeed. He described it this way in Ezekiel 1:27-28, “There was a brilliant light all around Him. The appearance of the brilliant light all around was like that of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day. This was the appearance of the form of the Lord’s Glory.” Wow, what a picture! When Ezekiel saw this, all he could do was fall face down and then something wonderful happened, he heard the voice of the Lord. When we recognize God’s glory in the way that Ezekiel did, then our only response will be to fall on our face before Holy God. When we experience difficulties, trials, and suffering, let us revere the Glory of God and allow God to speak to our hearts.

When God spoke to Ezekiel, He did not allow him to stay prostrate. God had a job for Ezekiel and God was going to give him the power to get it done. After this encounter with God’s holiness, Ezekiel says, “… the Spirit entered me and set me on my feet” (Ezekiel 2:2). When we read God’s Word, revere God’s glory, then we can rest in God’s power just like Ezekiel. In the first three chapters, we find that Ezekiel was put on his feet by the Spirit of God three times. That is how we must live this life finding our feet planted and directed by the Spirit of God. 

Reading God’s Word, revering God’s glory, and resting in God’s power will enable us to recognize God’s sovereignty. When the difficulties of life come, we will not always understand what God has in store; we must trust Him with everything. Pronouncing God’s wrath upon his own people had to be difficult for Ezekiel, but he was reminding them that God had a plan and a purpose for it all. God had a reason for His wrath upon the Israelites because of their rebellion and God had a purpose to remind them that He was Yahweh, the One True God. (Ezekiel 6:7-10) 

— Allred is pastor of First Baptist Church, Bruceton.


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