Do you like your life? For some of us, there are things in our lives that we like and things that we dislike. Many people are satisfied with their life, just like many of the Israelites were. As far as they knew, they were living the life. They worshiped. They religiously practiced the rituals. They offered sacrifices and they listened to the prophets. However, they worshiped idols, not God. They sacrificed their children and they listened to false prophets. Reveling in the norms of idolatrous living, it seemed nothing could go wrong.
Entranced by the evils around them, they had no inclination for holiness. Even though God had already set the standards for worship, they formed their own standards. He laid out the expectations right after the exodus from Egypt; but like ours, their propensity was disobedience. It was common for them to imprison or kill the prophets God had sent with true messages of judgement and redemption. Year after year, God kept calling them back to the path of obedience.
Instead, as the centuries rolled on, they rebelled. The chronicles of kingship revealed how the people obeyed for a few years, then disobeyed the next few. The life they lived was not the life God had called them to live. After witnessing centuries of their “great sins,” God called for the ruins of war, disease and famine.
The ruins represent the physical, spiritual, social, economic, and or the mental disintegration of our lives. Ruins are not always tangible debris littered all around us, they are also the intangible debris of sin that cause devastation in our lives. The ruins are God’s training grounds for our lives, and when He calls for or allows the ruins, nothing can thwart ruination.
We all live in the ruins of this wretched world, but we also live in our personal ruinous circumstances. Some, because of disobedience. Some, because of life’s circumstances or choices. Some, because of illnesses. Someone may be quick to say, “I like my life, I’m not in the ruins.” The people of Israel didn’t believe that their brazen rebellion would plunge them into the ruins.
Ezekiel is chosen to relate the story of the ruins. The book seems brutal and dark with judgement, yet, it shines bright with hope. Ezekiel shows us that wherever judgment is pronounced, mercy mitigates when we take hold of God’s hand. Ezekiel’s greatest feature is that it provides the way out of the ruins. Ezekiel does not have the appeal of the other books in the Bible. It seemed one of those scary books to read. It’s not as explicitly empowering as Proverbs or as soothing as the Psalms. It’s not heartfelt like Esther or as adventurous as Exodus. However, a year ago, I was forced to read Ezekiel when I joined a bible reading group. I started reading and was confused by chapter one; too many creatures, too many faces and definitely too many wheels!
But, if God had taken the time to give Ezekiel a message, then it meant that there are fortunes buried in the ruins, for you and me. God wants us to learn how to chip away the shell of difficulty, and partake of the fleshy truths that await us.
In the book of Ezekiel God revealed truths that are phenomenally frightening, humbling and glorious all in one. Having gone through the book, I felt impressed to share some of the high points with you in another 30 day series. I struggled for a few days, as I sought for direction from the Spirit how to bundle this in 30 days. There is so much to unpack and understand. Nonetheless, the Spirit led me to the title for our 30 day journey: “Rising from the Ruins.”
By joining us on this 30 day summary of Ezekiel, you will:
- Understand what the ruins in your life are about.
- Know how to thrive while you live in the ruins.
- Receive encouragement so that you can rise up from the ruins.
- Realize that God is Lord of your ruins and also of your restoration.
The book is sure to pronounce conviction, but more than anything it offers a lift out of the ruins. Therefore, whomever you are, wherever you are in your relationship with God, He wants to transport you to a higher platform of praise and communion with Him. I pray that you will allow Him to use this 30 day journey to reveal Himself and His love to you. Ezekiel was not just written about the Israelites; it is written about us and for us. Read with us and reap the fortunes that God has for you. Ezekiel will help you to rise up from the ruins of your life, and the ruins of this world.
Ezekiel 7:22. “I will not look when they defile it, nor will I stop them. Like robbers, they will loot the treasures and leave the Temple in ruins.”
Artwork: Avocet Brooks (used with permission)