i got a message from my doo-wop-singing-retired-janitor friend (aka “John”) this morning telling me that (1) he is still alive, (2) the weather in FL is “cold”, and (3) he’s still listening through the Bible on tape, but he’s taking a break from the OT because “it’s like a history lesson”.
i miss him. The new janitor is nice -n- all, but she doesn’t sing.
Anyhow, it made me think of this draft i have saved up since last friday. Also i mentioned this whole thing on ACTS last night & couldn’t remember the reference (sad). Without further ado ::
i’ve been reading through Ezekiel for …a while now. It’s so tough for me to retain this stuff. i should write about it more often. In the very least, the pages are full of my chicken scratch reactions. OT prophecy is not a favorite for me, however, here’s something interesting. Alongside a lot of this OT prophecy (it’s been months of ISAIAH, JEREMIAH, and EZEKIEL) i’m also reading ACTS. In chapter 13, Paul, in regards to (i’m thinking it’s mainly the Pharisees) the Jewish peeps not recognizing who Jesus was, says, “…those same prophets are read every Sabbath in their meeting places.” (v.27)
Interesting. (because) At the time i read that, i wrote in the margin how i couldn’t remember the last time, if ever really, that OT Prophecy was focused on in a Sunday morning service. Granted, i do have a bad memory, but prophecy is not a typical focus for any church i’ve attended.
:: we’re reading through JOHN in my study group and it’s remarkable how much they (many of the Jews/Pharisees) did not get or really see prophecy unfolding & who Jesus really was – especially given the fact that (according to that verse in ACTS) prophecy was studied like what.
& interesting. (because) Now within the last three weeks or so, Mars Hill decided to pick up a series on EZEKIEL. (!) Shane Hipps has done a couple sermons, but Rob Bell is still the teacher that i get. Can i call him Rabbi? Is that okay? Cuz i want to… just sayin. A couple days ago, i listened to his sermon “The Pain is Our Teacher” while at work, and could not stop laughing & learning. He starts out reading ch.one, really fast with very few pauses; one in which he states that he’s “exhausted” by it. This, by the way, is perfectly in line with how i read it. Ezekiel is a book that wastes no time with jumping right into that whattheheck?! action. Rob pauses at the end of chapter one and says, “i don’t even think i need to say anything cuz it’s pretty clear inn’t it? This kids is why you shouldn’t do drugs.” HA! YES. hilarious. good ending thought to all that.
Amidst his witticisms, he explains what is profound in the timing and placement of where & who Ezekiel is and what’s cool about how personalized God is, in revealing Himself to Ezekiel. All stuff that i completely missed because i don’t know chronological history, nor am i immersed in the culture of Ezekiel, nor do i fully think about who Ezekiel is or what his life was like or about. Suffice to say, that kind of stuff is fascinatingly important to getting any kind of understanding. It makes scripture really come to life. i wish. i wish i had been able to hear this sermon prior to reading any of this book. Then again, i believe in purpose of timing to ..well, pretty much everything.
i listened to this sermon again yesterday (10/06). yup. it still rocks my world. Here’s an excerpt:
Sometimes God goes around the mind and speaks directly to the heart and the imagination. Some pain is too hard for our minds to comprehend. And so what sometimes God has to do is go around our mind and speak directly to our heart. what you find in this vision is, Ezekiel experiences something that blows his mind but it speaks to his heart. One scholar Johnathon Taylor simply says it this way, “This is how God revealed himself to Ezekiel. Not by propositions regarding His character, but in personal encounter. God doesn’t show up by the river and say, Ezekiel, do you not recall that I am (A) Omniscient (B) Omnipotent (C) Good (D) Nice. No, He doesn’t show up with a nice systematic outline explaining things. God shows up in power and explosive creativity and says I’m here.
…sometimes what God does, is God understands how we’re wired and He understands that for many of us our mind is our god. And so God realizes, if I just try to reason with you, that’s not gonna work, so I am gonna go around your mind and I’m gonna get into your heart. I am going to to give you assurance. I am going to give you peace. I am going to give you calm. I am going to give you hope. I am going to give a vision of the future and I am gonna go right into your heart and give it to you there cuz if i give it to you in your mind you’re gonna try to figure it out and you’re gonna screw it up.
:: p.s. on a personal non-descript note — i’ve been screwing up like freaking crazy lately. It humbles (&baffles) me that God would still “work” with this mess to reveal anything new to me about who He is.
If there’s anything i’ve learned the most through reading the OT prophets, it’s that God is incredibly creative and artistic in relating with us. And i can’t help but LOVE that. i’m really in awe of it. &it’s true. Where words often fail, art prevails. There’s such power in things that often approach at an abstract or metaphoric level. i am in love with that, like i can’t even relate how much. Someone would have to dance it out to even come close to explaining it. It’s so beautiful.
i will always remember this time, a few years ago, when i was driving home from work and i kept seeing monarchs periodically fluttering around. Suddenly outta nowhere, as i was stopped at a stoplight, a legion of ’em crossed overhead. Seriously TONS flying by like a monarch factory had just hatched out. It was so random and awesome that i remember thinking, “wow God. You get me. You get me like no one else does. You get me more than i get me.” It was kind of a “magical” time in life in general, as i nostalgically remember it. i was wowed by communication between God and people being evident in nature and relationships and situations and holy crap everywhere. It’s personal – individualized like God knows all the lines on our hands – oh wait, God does. Isn’t life a strange sort of art, that is God continually speaking to us? Sweetly in the good things and surprisingly even in the hard things. Refreakinmarkable. There really is nothing that can fulfill me like that. i forget that. a lot.