If there was one message God wanted to convey, it’s this, “they shall know that I am the Lord.” Throughout the book of Ezekiel, we see this statement of God over 50 times, wanting the people to recognize that He is Lord. He took them from Egypt, brought them into “a good land, flowing as it were with milk and honey, the best of all lands anywhere (Ezekiel 20: 6). But, they were idolatrous. God said, “you took the very jewels and gold and silver ornaments I gave to you and made statues of men and worshiped them” (Ezekiel 16: 17).
He told Ezekiel to, “Tell Israel, ‘Wherever you look—east, west, north, or south—your land is finished. No hope remains, for I will loose my anger on you for your worshiping of idols. I will turn my eyes away and show no pity; I will repay you in full, and you shall know I am the Lord” (Ezekiel 7: 2). Disease will strike down those in exile; war will destroy those in the land of Israel; and any who remain will die by famine and siege. So at last I will expend my fury on you” (Ezekiel 6: 12).
The first thing God wanted the people to know is that He is the Lord of Ruins. Before creation, God knew that our world would be in a ruinous state of prolonged disobedience and sin. Just like He called for the rains in Noah’s time, the plagues in Moses’ time and the fire for Sodom and Gomorrah, He called for ruination upon Israel. He is the God of justice and judgment. And, just like they did in Ezekiel’s and Jeremiah’s time, “men from many nations will pass by the ruins of this city and say to one another, “Why did the Lord do it?” (Jeremiah 22: 8).
Why the ruins? Why did the Lord allow ruins in their lives? We often have the question ‘why’? Why is this happening to me, to us, to our world? Job was perfect and upright, but he got his share of the ruins. He responded with his own question, “shall we receive only pleasant things from the hand of God and never anything unpleasant?” (Job 2: 10). God declared to Job, “I owe no one anything. Everything under the heaven is mine” (Job 41:11). It doesn’t mean that everything bad comes from God, but God is not shy to announce, “I will judge each of you in accordance with [your] deeds” (Ezekiel 33: 20).
In our own lives, we have been rebellious towards God, towards His care and goodness. Just like the Israelites, we have used the blessings that He has given us to be an abomination to Him. Disobedience to God always bring ruins. Without God having to punish us, the consequences are punishment themselves. In addition, sometimes, God allows ruins that seem so unfair, like in Joseph’s case. If you are in the ruins right now, God wants to reveal Himself as Lord of the Ruins and Lord of your circumstances.
If you look closely, not with eyes, but with heart, you will realize that like the sunlight which creeps inside and illuminates the dark room, God’s light outshines the darkness. His Spirit lingers above the ruins, watching you, wooing you and waiting for you. He still loves His people while they are in the ruins. Therefore, while He calls for ruination to teach lessons or build faith, the second thing God wanted the people to know, is that He also calls for restoration.
God allows ruins in our lives so that we can know that He is Lord. How do we know? Ezekiel tells us that while we are in the ruins:
- He cares for us from the treasure house of His love.
- He teaches us lasting lessons.
- He sends encouragement. God sent Ezekiel to tell the people how sinful they have been and that they will receive judgment, but He also was their comfort while in the ruins of bondage.
- His main intention is to prep us for eternity.
Ezekiel Chapter 1 leaves no doubt that God is Lord of the ruins: “the four wheels had rims and spokes, and the rims were filled with eyes around their edges.” This reminds us that God is the all-seeing eye. Nothing misses His attention. No fleeting thought entered into our minds escapes his knowledge. No desire so greatly implanted in our heart omits his consideration. No deed slips past his notice. He knows the past as much as He knows the future as much as He knows the present. He is Lord of the ruins because He is Lord of the world. He is Lord of the restoration. He never sends judgement or challenges without an opportunity for change.
The ruins of your life are under his watchful eye. He allows. He disallows. He calls down destruction. But, praise God, He also calls for restoration. He is Lord of the Ruins. The song says, “The Lord knows the way through the wilderness,” and its true; He also knows the way through the ruins. All you have to do is follow. He is Lord of the ruins.
Ezekiel 36: 3, “The Lord God says: “When I cleanse you from your sins, I will bring you home again to Israel, and rebuild the ruins.”
Artwork: Donald Keefe (Used by Permission)