WARNING: AUDIO QUALITY IS TERRIBLE. I have no idea what happened with the recordings today but the entire audio file clipped. I hesitated even posting this evening’s message. I will try to find out what happened so we don’t have a “replay” next Sunday.
Derek Thomas … We are never to approach any work for God from the perspective of our own natural abilities. “Whoever, therefore, shall acknowledge that God is sufficient for overcoming all obstacles”, Calvin concludes, “will gird himself bravely for his work; but he who delays for calculating his own strength is not only weakened but is almost overcome.” He continues: “Many are so full, yea so puffed out with confidence, that they bring forth nothing but wind. Hence let us learn to seek from God alone that fortitude which we need: for we are not stronger than Ezekiel, and if he needed to be strengthened by the Spirit of God, much more do we at this time need it.” [Thomas, D. (1993). God Strengthens: Ezekiel Simply Explained (p. 34). Darlington, England: Evangelical Press.]
We started in Ezekiel a few weeks ago. In my yearly reading I had seen some things that I thought would be good for us to give further study.
But I had no idea …
Wow … it seems that God took this series away from me in a hurry, and I am just trying to keep up. What a blessing! Written around 2,500 years ago but so very relevant for our times.
If we took these lessons of preparation seriously, our preaching and teaching would be dramatically transformed to the glory of God.
Think about it. Is God preparing us to speak for him? Do we see the absolute need for complete dependence on him to honor him in our service?
I thought about titling this study “How to Not Be Afraid in a World in Which It Seems We Have Every Reason to Be Afraid.” But, yeah, kind of long and wordy. But still very true.
This world of ours … heartache and tragedy know no bounds. Pain and sadness may come with the next phone call or on that trip to Walmart for weekly supplies.
So where can we live? Is there any place of real, lasting peace and security? And how do remain faithful to God and courageous in service to Jesus Christ?
I believe these lessons in Ezekiel will answer all those questions and many more. And not pretend answers but answers from God that stand the test of the greatest reality of all—God himself in all his glory.
(Ezekiel 1:1 NASB95) Now it came about in the thirtieth year, on the fifth day of the fourth month, while I was by the river Chebar among the exiles, the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God.
(Ezekiel 1:28–2:2 NASB95) As the appearance of the rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the surrounding radiance. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell on my face and heard a voice speaking. Then He said to me, “Son of man, stand on your feet that I may speak with you!” As He spoke to me the Spirit entered me and set me on my feet; and I heard Him speaking to me.
Overview of Ezekiel by Derek Thomas
Ezekiel’s name means “God strengthens.” Every time the prophet’s name was mentioned, God’s people were assured of his help and reminded of his promise to “strengthen the weak.”
Ezekiel lived in times of great political turmoil and witnessed the final collapse of Judah to the Babylonian empire. His total, unquestioning willingness to do God’s will, often at great cost to himself, during the long years of his faithful ministry in exile, is a shining example to Christian workers everywhere.
Introduction to Ezekiel by Derek Thomas
Meeting God: Christianity is a religion of the word. God has set down all that he requires of us to know concerning himself, his plans and purposes, in the Bible. Over two million Bible words, written over a period of 1,500 years by some forty different authors, underline the fact that words are essential for Christianity. But a stubborn truth persists in making itself known: most people remember pictures better than they remember words. That is why Bible writers (and behind them, the guiding hand of the Holy Spirit) pepper their words with vivid word-pictures to throw light on what these words mean. Ezekiel is full of word-pictures!
It is the same thought that led G. K. Chesterton to write in a child’s picture book: Stand up, and keep your childishness, Read all the pedant’s creeds and strictures, But don’t believe in anything, That can’t be told in coloured pictures!
[Thomas, D. (1993). God Strengthens: Ezekiel Simply Explained (pp. 21–22). Darlington, England: Evangelical Press.]