For many, God is this tyrant sitting up in heaven taking great delight in causing good people grief and suffering. But this Scripture tells us quite the opposite. God’s desire is that no one perish…but with this Scripture also comes responsibility and accountability on our part. II Peter 3:9 tells us, “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” So what’s God promise in this verse? His promise is the Day of the Lord…or Judgement Day. God gives each one of us ample opportunity to turn our lives around… but it’s our decision though whether we respond or not.
I’ll admit, most of my prayers are very selfish and self-centered, and begin with “I”. But what the Lord is trying to teach us here… is that regardless of how Job viewed his own personal crisis…it was only after he had prayed for his friends that God moved. The ministry of intercessory prayer takes the I and Me out of our prayers and replaces it with our friend’s names. Intercession is so wonderfully described in Ezekiel 22:30, “I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before Me in the gap…” When you intercede for a friend in prayer, you are standing in the breach of their broken down life…a life split open by divorce, torn apart by job loss, or ripped asunder by cancer. By standing in that gap of their wall of life…you make their wall whole and complete again. When the Holy Spirit lays someone on your mind…respond immediately and pray for that person…stand in the gap of their life’s wall. For you may never know how crucial your intercessory prayer was for them at that moment.
The sign of the promise made by God to Noah was a rainbow…a everlasting covenant that we still see today when the sunshine breaks through the rain clouds. This arch of colors is used both in the Old and New Testament to describe the glory of God. Ezekiel 1:28 says that the glory of God was a radiance around Him like a rainbow. And John describes a rainbow encircling God’s Throne in Revelation 4:3. So the next time you spy a rainbow, take a moment to be in awe of God’s magnificent glory on display for you.
The Lord had brought Ezekiel to a valley full of dry bones and asked him this question. The only appropriate answer Ezekiel could give is, “O Lord God, You know.” Rather running ahead of God “doing something”, Ezekiel was waiting on the Lord’s direction and working within His Will. Many times it’s so much easier to “do something” rather than to just trust in the Lord and wait on His timetable. What we see as good works and “helping” God is more panic than inspiration.
How can the Church stand firm if it’s divided? How can Believers work together as one if there are divisions? It won’t happen…and Satan knows that all too well. If he can use pride and egos to stop the work of the Lord he’ll do it. Are we willing as Believers to change the discord and to become as it talks about in Isaiah 58:12. “…you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls.”
God’s commandments are sometimes very unique…requiring great inner commitment, not merely external or superficial obedience. Many times, there was tremendous cost to serving the Lord. In this verse, God is telling him that He is taking Ezekiel’s dear wife home to heaven, but that he may not mourn her in public. God instructed Jeremiah never to marry…and the Lord told Hosea to take an unfaithful, adulterous woman as his wife. In all cases with these men, God symbolically used their situations to demonstrate His relationship with His people and the changes that needed to be made.