Being a mathematician, I can’t help but declare my fascination with the circle. It’s infinite, even mysterious. Each point ends where it begins and begins where it ends so that the circle is full of beginnings and endings. No wonder we sing, “the circle of life.”
A circle is a striking symbol of oneness. “Let’s form a circle” we often say; because a circle is all inclusive. A horizontal, vertical, or even a diagonal line segment, often puts things in ascending or descending order. However, in the circle, although each point has its own position, no point is first or last. Another unique and perhaps the most important quality of a circle is the center. If there is no center, there can be no circle.
Ezekiel saw living creatures, and then he saw wheels in his first vision, as described in chapter 1. Being circular, the wheels represent some qualities of the circle; they blatantly boast unity. The spokes of the wheels are attached to the center, the place from which they derive their momentum, just as God is at the center of our universe, our Source of life. Any attachment to Him gives us purposeful momentum. Detach ourselves and we will be a wandering wheel rolling down the hill to destruction.
We briefly mentioned the living creatures of Ezekiel 1 in Redemption from the Ruins, but there is still so much to gain from an in-depth study of this chapter. Ezekiel observed that the wheels and the creatures worked together, because…”the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels” (vs 20), proving that they operated from the same Center, God. All human life into existence generates from this center. In addition, as the wheels and the creatures did, God is calling human agents to partner with the host of heaven to fulfill the great commission.
Before God used Ezekiel to trumpet the eternal messages, He had to understand what it means to be united in heart and effort for God’s work.
There was unity of Spirit: The same spirit in the living creature is the same spirit in the wheels (vs 20). The same spirit in the living creatures and the wheels must permeate man’s hearts, in order for him to find the correct path to restoration. Disharmonious spirits will clash, but those led by the same spirit will unite. Turn, turn and live is God’s cry to a world in the mire of ruins. As we turn, God calls us to unite our hearts with His for work in the field. A united heart with God’s means, God and human coalesce in purpose. This is the surest way out of the ruins.
There was unity of movement. Image this clear and compelling picture of unity; “When the four living beings flew forward, the wheels moved forward with them. When they flew upwards, the wheels went up too. When the living beings stopped, the wheels stopped. For the spirit of the four living beings was in the wheels; so wherever their spirit went, the wheels and the living beings went there too” (vs 19 -20). Getting out of ruins means, Ezekiel had to do what God said, how He said to do it and when He said to do it. Otherwise, He would perish in the ruins. God calls us to respond according to the bidding of his Spirit. Jesus actions were harmonious with the Father and the Spirit. He boldly declares, “I and my Father are one” (John 10: 30). When the Spirit in the wheels enter our hearts, our actions will synchronize with God’s mission.
There was unity of direction. Unity of movement is one thing, but direction is also implied from Ezekiel 1: 19- 20. The living creatures and the wheels moved forward and upward together. When one stopped the other stopped…because the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels. People move together all the time, but not in the same direction. We hear of all sorts of unified movements in our world; yet, they are full of anarchy. Not so with the living beings and the wheels. God’s Spirit had them fused together working to glorify God. Ezekiel was called to move, but the Spirit had to show him where to move and how to move. God’s Spirit will give direction while you are in the ruins.
Each wheel derives its momentum from the same center. According to Newton, wheels can only move when acted upon by a force. If God takes His breath away from us, we will lie lifelessly on the ground. But when God’s Spirit take control, He will propel us on the the path that leads the way out of the ruins into eternity. Every other path leads elsewhere.
Therefore, you may fully well know the cause of your ruinous circumstances or you may be hauled into it because we live in a sinful and evil world. But God offers a way out. Just like He offered redemption to the Israelites and pleaded with them to accept His love, likewise, He pleads to our lost world. Unite your heart, your will, and your desires; unite everything with His. Like Ezekiel, we have to learn and understand this unity before we can understand God’s work in the ruins. He must be the Wheel inside of our wheel, turning us on the path of purpose for Him.
Ezekiel 1:16, “The appearance of the wheels and their work was like unto the colour of a beryl: and they four had one likeness: and their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel.”
Artwork: Avocet Brooks (Used with permission).