"On July 31st of my thirtieth year, while I was with the Judean exiles beside the Kebar River in Babylon, the heavens were opened to me, and I saw visions of God....and I felt the hand of the Lord take hold of me" Ezekiel 1,3...."Then He added, 'Son of man, let all My words sink deep into your own heart first." Ezekiel 2:10...."I sat there among them for seven days, overwhelmed." Ezekiel 2:15..."Spirit of God, I want to know Your thoughts and to hear Your heartbeat. Breathe the power of Your Word into me." Chris Tiegreen
I don't know how many others share this sense with me, but I feel that the greatest need of both the church and the world is to hear, really hear, the voice and words of God. Yes, we need to see those words lived out in the lives of His people, but before we can do so in the power of His Life and Spirit, His Words need to be anchored in, abiding in our hearts and minds. As we behold, we become. In the above Scriptures from Ezekiel, I see a pattern for all of us. Not just those entrusted with preaching His Word and being His prophetic voice to their generation, but to all who are His.
First, the need is desperate for those who have truly seen "visions of Him." We tend to get a little "spooked" about such a thing in our rational minded 21st century culture, be it the world or the church. Yet I believe that more than ever, the Father is seeking to open the eyes of His people that they might see Him in ways that they have never seen Him before. We so easily fall into behavioral ruts, especially in our spiritual lives. We read our Bible chapters each day, have our time of prayer, and yet in it all, never really "see" or "hear" Him in any of it. We go out into our days blind and deaf to His wonder and majesty. The world system and its power is far more real to us than He is. I think the reason for that is found in the second thing that happens to Ezekiel. In the midst of his visions, the Father's hand takes hold of him.
This is something that Ezekiel relates several times in his writing. Can I ask you, as well as myself, when was the last time His Words really took hold of you? When was the last time His hand was so mighty upon us that everything else was out of our line of vision, and all we saw and heard was Him? Do we have the kind of stillness before Him that He can do so? Or are we so consumed with our busyness, our agendas, our goals, that when He seeks to take hold of us, all He can grasp is empty air? Always running, we have eluded His grasp once more. Are we ever still enough to not only see and hear Him, but to be held in His hand, seeing and hearing nothing else but Him? Where His words and message to us sink deeply into our hearts. They abide, and live there.
When this really happens, we come to the third and last part; we're overwhelmed with what He has to say. If we have heard from Him, we have such a tendency to want to immediately relate to everyone what we've heard. Yet the great voices for the Lord didn't do so. Paul went into the Arabian desert after his encounter with Christ on the Damascus Road. Ezekiel sat in silence for seven days among the people he was to speak to. If we do hear from Him, do we ever let His Words and what we've just seen saturate our hearts, spirit, and mind? Ezekiel was overwhelmed by what he heard and saw. He needed to give his mind and heart a chance to process it, and allow the Lord to speak even more deeply into his life as he did so. This requires stillness, focus, concentration on the "one thing," all in short supply in the church culture of today. Yet see what fruit flowed out of Ezekiel's ministry because he did so. What might flow out of ours if we did the same? What kind of Holy Spirit life would flow from the Church if we allowed Him to raise up a generation of such men and women today?
Ezekiel, among the captive exiles in Babylon, never wanted to be there. Yet he was, and it was there that the Lord revealed Himself to him. Maybe he's placed you at your own "Kebar River," and me as well. Dare we be still enough that He can show Himself, speak His Word to us? To lay hold of, and overwhelm us with what we see and hear? And then, saturated with His words and life, we take what we have experienced to His people, and through His people, to a desperate world in need of Him. Or do we keep moving, doing our devotions, reading His Word, even looking for messages in it, yet missing the message He has for us? He seeks to lay hold of you, us. Dare we be still enough that He can?