This week I’m going to take us into the world of the prophetic. Wait, don’t leave! Not the weird stuff you think like snake handling and predicting the end of the world. Ok, maybe real prophecy can be a little weird – I mean Ezekiel was commanded to lay on his side for 390 days and cook his food only over human excrement. God did allow him, instead, to use cow dung when he begged. So yeah, that’s weird.
But here’s the deal with biblical prophecy and, I believe, the continued tradition of it throughout history: prophecy is primarily a tool for God to speak, for his people to respond, and renewal to be found. While I recognize this is an oversimplification, none of you want a theological treatise – this is a daily devotional after all. So let’s look at the great example that we’ve already established is a bit strange: Ezekiel.
Throughout the book, Ezekiel is commanded by God to do some, uh, interesting things – some physical acts for God’s people to see and some just visions he’s given to communicate. But all of these are for a purpose: to warn God’s people and call them back to him. And you know what God does, ultimately, through Ezekiel? He calls his people back.
Not everyone will respond, but the invitation is constantly there. And it’s true for us today. There are voices speaking to all of us, each and every day, sometimes from the ancient scriptures and sometimes from the freshness of a friend or pastor full of the Spirit. Those voices may bring warning, correction, encouragement, vision, sharpening, or even questions. But they are all, if they are of God, calling us back to him. Will we listen?
In the final verses of the book of Ezekiel, after so many dire warnings and awful things, the people are coming back and the city is being rebuilt. He gives instructions for the gates and walls of the city, then the story ends so beautifully and poignantly. God says, “having done these things, the name of the city from that time on will be: The LORD is there.”
If we will listen and respond to the prophetic voices calling us back to the basics of following God – individually and all of us as his people – he will do just as he did with the people of Israel who responded to Ezekiel: he will make his dwelling with us, forever.
Grace and Peace,