Wings and wheels

OPENING PRAYER

Majestic God, I bow before You. You are beyond all I can understand, but every part of You is good.

 

Read: EZEKIEL 1:1-28

[1] In my thirtieth year, in the fourth month on the fifth day, while I was among the exiles by the Kebar River, the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God. [2] On the fifth of the month-it was the fifth year of the exile of King Jehoiachin- [3] the word of the LORD came to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, by the Kebar River in the land of the Babylonians. There the hand of the LORD was on him. [4] I looked, and I saw a windstorm coming out of the north-an immense cloud with flashing lightning and surrounded by brilliant light. The center of the fire looked like glowing metal, [5] and in the fire was what looked like four living creatures. In appearance their form was human, [6]but each of them had four faces and four wings. [7] Their legs were straight; their feet were like those of a calf and gleamed like burnished bronze. [8] Under their wings on their four sides they had human hands. All four of them had faces and wings, [9] and the wings of one touched the wings of another. Each one went straight ahead; they did not turn as they moved. [10] Their faces looked like this: Each of the four had the face of a human being, and on the right side each had the face of a lion, and on the left the face of an ox; each also had the face of an eagle. [11] Such were their faces. They each had two wings spreading out upward, each wing touching that of the creature on either side; and each had two other wings covering its body. [12] Each one went straight ahead. Wherever the spirit would go, they would go, without turning as they went. [13] The appearance of the living creatures was like burning coals of fire or like torches. Fire moved back and forth among the creatures; it was bright, and lightning flashed out of it. [14] The creatures sped back and forth like flashes of lightning. [15] As I looked at the living creatures, I saw a wheel on the ground beside each creature with its four faces. [16] This was the appearance and structure of the wheels: They sparkled like topaz, and all four looked alike. Each appeared to be made like a wheel intersecting a wheel. [17] As they moved, they would go in any one of the four directions the creatures faced; the wheels did not change direction as the creatures went. [18] Their rims were high and awesome, and all four rims were full of eyes all around.[19] When the living creatures moved, the wheels beside them moved; and when the living creatures rose from the ground, the wheels also rose. [20] Wherever the spirit would go, they would go, and the wheels would rise along with them, because the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels. [21] When the creatures moved, they also moved; when the creatures stood still, they also stood still; and when the creatures rose from the ground, the wheels rose along with them, because the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels. [22] Spread out above the heads of the living creatures was what looked something like a vault, sparkling like crystal, and awesome. [23] Under the vault their wings were stretched out one toward the other, and each had two wings covering its body. [24] When the creatures moved, I heard the sound of their wings, like the roar of rushing waters, like the voice of the Almighty, like the tumult of an army. When they stood still, they lowered their wings. [25] Then there came a voice from above the vault over their heads as they stood with lowered wings. [26] Above the vault over their heads was what looked like a throne of lapis lazuli, and high above on the throne was a figure like that of a man. [27] I saw that from what appeared to be his waist up he looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and that from there down he looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded him. [28] Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking. 

 

Reflect: IN WHAT WAY DOES THIS SCRIPTURE SPEAK TO YOU?

It began like a thunderstorm (4), but then turned into a vision of God, almost as if he were riding on a chariot-throne with all kinds of living creatures surrounding him. Many people have tried to interpret the symbolism of Ezekiel’s vision, but no one has captured the whole of it. No artist has been able to paint the picture of what Ezekiel saw. This was highly personal to Ezekiel. There are three striking features about Ezekiel’s vision. First, God came to the exiles in majesty and glory to where they were in the desert. Second, God was infinitely mobile (note the wheels, 15-21), and he was driven by the spirit–but it is not clear whether this was the Holy Spirit or the life force in the living creatures (12,20,21). Third, God was breathtaking in his splendor. Gone forever was the image of a God who stayed in the Temple and did not stray from Jerusalem. He was out and about and where his people were. But he still made them want to fall to the ground and listen to him (28). Spiritual experiences are meant to move us to our core.

 

APPLY

To improve your vision of God, try fixing your eyes on the crucified Son of God.

 

CLOSING PRAYER

Exalted God, You are more wonderful than we can begin to comprehend.

 

Syndicated via Scripture Union
www.scriptureunion.org