DAILY DISCIPLINE #98
By Colleen Donahue
What we learn in the Old Testament book of Ezekiel about God is more significant than about Ezekiel himself and so we'll continue this month to study about the life of God as presented in this remarkable book.
In the Old Testament dispensation (the time before Jesus Christ), the people knew God as their father and Lord. They did not know of His Son Jesus Christ who was to be revealed in the fullness of time -- nor did they know of the Holy Spirit who would be given to all men freely after Jesus died. This trinity family makes up the fullness of God : the Father, His Son and the Holy Spirit -- three persons, yet one God.This is one of the mysteries of our faith.
Despite the fact that Jesus and the Holy Spirit had not been revealed to all men at the time of Ezekiel, God does give us a definite preview of the life to come through the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ.
This month we'll try to make sense of what may seem like rather cryptic verses. It is my hope that these verses studied in the light of New Testament verses will give us a revelation of the importance of the Holy Spirit in our own life. God wants to live in each believer and He does so through His Spirit. Therefore we aren't studying dry theory, but the living God in our life. Let's look at ...
The Book of Ezekiel- Part 2: The Holy Spirit Revealed
The Holy Spirit is the guiding dynamic for all that will follow God.
Day 1- Ezekiel had been in exile over 13 years when he saw visions of God by the River Chebar. Read the entire vision today to get an overall picture of it.
Ezekiel 1: 1-28
The four living creatures (later in the book called Cherubim) were special symbols of Jesus Christ and God's infinite attributes and mighty workings through Him. These creatures signified the divine presence. They don't represent God Himself except as He is absolute life, working in living creatures. We'll look at this further next month when we study Jesus in this book, but for now, notice their motion.
Day 2- There are three things to notice about the motion of these cherubim.
1- Straight forward
2-Only where the Holy Spirit went
Day 3- Movement straight forward is movement with singleness of purpose after truth. The Holy Spirit within us is God prompting us to move and walk in truth.
Ezekiel 36:37 / John 16: 13/ I Corinthians 2:13
Day 4- Then you notice that the cherubim only go where the Spirit would go. If our lives belong to God then we must go where He leads us. Obedience to the Holy Spirit within our hearts is the true test as to whether we belong to God or not. Following God's will and our own will at the same time is not possible. It leads to a life of frustration.
Romans 8:14/ I John 2:3-6 / I John 3: 24
Day 5- The last thing to notice about the Cherubim's movement is that they went without turning. This reinforces what we said in Day 3 & 4. When they were to go, they did so without taking care of their own business along the way, or getting sidetracked with other good projects. Read these challenging words in the New Testament of men that thought they wanted to follow God anywhere.
Luke 9: 57-62
Day 6- Now notice the burning coals of fire between the cherubim. Whenever people are full of God's Spirit they become as lights within a society of people. This picture of the fire and lightening and the creatures darting shows the infinite activity of God throughout the universe by His people.
Ezekiel 1: 13,14
Day 7- The curious picture of the wheels beside each creature reinforces what we have already said. As God's people we are to live and move as the Spirit guides us-- going straight forward, without turning. But these verses also give a further picture of the omnipresence of God through His Spirit represented by the wheel rims full of eyes!
Ezekiel 1: 15- 21
God gives His Holy Spirit to raise us for the task at hand.
Day 8- The vision of Ezekiel saw was so overwhelming that he fell on his face. God however, had more to say to Him and asked him to stand up. God can only speak effectively when we are in a posture of attention to listen.
Ezekiel 1: 28b- 2:1
Day 9- Whenever God commands us to do something, He also enables us by His Holy Spirit. Ezekiel 2:2
Day 10- Ezekiel's task was not to be an easy one. Notice that he was to speak only God's words ("Thus says the Lord....") and that the success of his mission was NOT dependent on people responding favorably to his preaching.
Ezekiel 2: 3-7
Day 11- In some way God will make tangible to us what He expects of us as He did with Ezekiel. We might wish we could "eat" something else, but God is specific in what He gives to each man and woman.
Ezekiel 2:8 - 3:1
Day 12- Ezekiel's immediate response of willingness and obedience is to be ours as well. There was to be no room in Ezekiel for anything but what God wanted him to do.
Ezekiel 3: 2-3a
Day 13- God's will may not look sweet to us, but He will make it so as we choose it.
Day 14- We can be thankful that though we are weak and inadequate in ourselves to obey God, we can receive the Holy Spirit to dwell within us and HE is wholly able and adequate. It is the Holy Spirit that lifts us up and gives us the strength for our service to God.
Ezekiel 3: 12-14
Day 15- This verse tells us succinctly the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. He is to...
a. dwell within us,
b. set us on our feet - i.e. make us ready and able to do God's will
c. to direct us.
Ezekiel 3:24 (read Ezekiel 2:2 again).
The Holy Spirit Gives Us Insight
Day 16- Ezekiel, by his own experience makes clear to us that there is a spirit world between earth and heaven. Through the Holy Spirit, God is able to show us things with our spiritual eyes that we can't see with our physical.
Ezekiel 8: 1-4
Day 17- Although Ezekiel was thousands of miles away in exile, God gave him a detailed look at what was happening back at the temple in Jerusalem. The clarity of detail that the Holy Spirit can give us into circumstances can be even better than what we might see by our senses.
Ezekiel 8: 5-16
Day 18- The Holy Spirit may show us things beyond our reality, but He always brings us back to reality. We must live in the present.
Ezekiel 11: 24-25
Without the Holy Spirit We Are Like Dry Bones
Day 19- Once again Ezekiel is brought by the Spirit to a valley and asked a question by God.What was the sight before Ezekiel?
Ezekiel 37: 1-3
Day 20- God's Word is able to quicken the hearts of men that are spiritually dead. Notice as Ezekiel prophesied and spoke God's Word that a miracle of life happened.
Ezekiel 37: 4-8 / Hebrews 4:12/ I Peter 1:23
Day 21- But something more than God's Word was needed for the dead to really come alive. They needed the "breath" or Spirit of God within them.
Day 22- In an age when there are libraries of books written about spiritual and religious themes, it is not good enough for men to simply read and know about God in their heads. He wants His Spirit alive in their hearts.
John 5: 39-40
Day 23- Without the Holy Spirit, men and women are just empty shells. They may appear to be alive but they are dead inside. It is the Holy Spirit dwelling within us that makes us fully alive both to other men and to God.
Romans 8: 9-11
Day 24- The Valley of dry bones is a vivid picture of the spiritual state of our race. We are a people dead in our trespasses and sins -- without hope--and cut off from God.
Ezekiel 37:11 / Psalm 88: 3-9
Day 25- So, how do we escape our man-made graves and our dead state? Stop your feeble efforts and look up to God.He alone in His great love and mercy for us raises us from the dead.
Ezekiel 37: 12-14, 23b / Ephesians 2: 1-8
Day 26- Then with the simplicity of a trusting child, ask God for the Holy Spirit. He will fill you with His Spirit and therefore with the fullness of life.
Luke 11: 13/ James 1:17
When The Holy Spirit Brings Life to One, He Brings Blessing to Many!
As we come to a close this month in our study of the Holy Spirit in Ezekiel, we must look at one more beautiful aspect of God's Spirit.
Day 27- We come in Chapter 47 to Ezekiel being shown water trickling from the temple and flowing down. Notice that first it was a trickle, then ankle-deep, then knee-deep, then to the loins, and finally deep enough to swim in.
Ezekiel 47: 1-6
Day 28- The Holy Spirit is like this river. He flows from the temple or the Heart of God. His direction of flow is always "down and out" -- ie. down to every lowly place and out to a wide variety of people. The Holy Spirit cannot stay bottled up in our heart.
Acts. 1: 8
Day 29- Whenever the Holy Spirit will be found to flow, that will bring fresh life to a heart that has become stagnant. Not only one heart will have life, but whole numbers of people will find life and live.
Ezekiel 47: 6-9
Day 30- The Holy Spirit flowing will bring continual life and continual fruit and continual healing. As long as we let the Holy Spirit flow there does not need to be bad fruit or withered leaves - i.e. our lives don't need to drift into death and stagnation.
Ezekiel 47: 12
When we don't stop and the flow of the Holy Spirit coming from our heart (however small it may seem) that trickle will grow to be a river for ourselves and all that surround us.
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