Lack of focus is a human problem. Many times, we’ll say, “I just can’t seem to focus.” With so many sensual distractions of sight, sound, smell, taste and touch, how can we focus? There is so much to see, so much to listen to and so much to taste. Elements that appeal to the senses, steal our focus.
In reality, it’s not that we can’t focus, all of us can focus…but focus on what? Sadly, we often focus on the less important things. The dictionary tells us that focus is a verb, meaning to “pay particular attention to something.” However, it is also a noun, meaning the “center of attention.” Humanity have problems with both. We pay particular attention to music, videos, chats and things of that sort. Many also make them the center of attention…most of the time. Whichever way you tackle the word, most of these sensual attractions arrest human attention.
While in the ruins, I’m not sure where was Ezekiel’s focus. It could have been on the devastation he saw all around him. His focus could also have been on himself, as he tried to figure out why he was hauled into this ruinous mess. He perhaps was paying attention to the rebellious people he sat with. It could also be that his focus was on God, that’s why God called him out and directed his attention to a vision that appealed to his senses.
God appealed to Ezekiel’s eyes: As we discussed in Unite Your Heart With God’s, Ezekiel saw living creatures with four faces and the wheel inside of a wheel. He also saw the beautifully embellished firmament. He saw red-orange flames, gigantic rims and spokes. He saw crystals, and “what looked like a throne made of beautiful blue sapphire stones” (Ezekiel 1: 26). God definitely captured his attention by appealing to his sight.
God also stimulated Ezekiel’s sense of hearing. Ezekiel heard “wings [that] roared like waves against the shore, or like the voice of God, or like the shouting of a mighty army” (vs 24). He may have heard lightning flashing as the living creatures moved.
God enticed his taste and appetite: As we will see in an upcoming post, God gave Ezekiel something to eat, to appease his appetite for service.
God directed his focus: Finally, Ezekiel saw a man who “seemed to be all glowing bronze, dazzling like fire; and from his waist down he seemed to be entirely aflame, and there was a glowing halo like a rainbow all around him. That was the way the glory of the Lord appeared to me. God directed his attention from the ruins to the Lord of the Ruins…God Himself.
God appealed to his heart: After experiencing the unfathomable beauty and glory of God. Ezekiel fell face downward on the ground and heard the voice of someone speaking to [Him].” After seeing what he had seen, hearing what he had heard, God got his full attention and focus. He fell on his face in reverence and humility.
In addition, the living creatures gave a powerful demonstration of focus. Three times in chapter 1, Ezekiel noticed that the living creatures, “flew straight forward without turning” (vs. 9). “Wherever their Spirit went they went, going straight forward without turning” (vs. 12) and Ezekiel explains that they didn’t need to turn around when they went in any direction (vs 17). According to these scriptures, when we find our focus in God, our center, we will go straight forward.
How you cope while in the ruins, and most importantly whether you survive or do not survive the ruins, all depends on your focus. If we aim to get out of the ruins of this world, we have to keep going straight forward. We can’t afford to look at everything that appeal to our sight, listen to every comment or suggestion that catches our ears. And we have to be careful what we ingest. There are people in the ruins who don’t mind staying in the ruins. There are people who will forever complain about the ruins. Some will point fingers and blame everybody else for their ruins. However, our focus can’t be on the ruins, but on God. Unless the Spirit takes control, what we perceive through sight, what we internalize through sounds, and what we ingest through the appetite, will negatively influence our lives. n all of this, know that at the heart of focus is obedience. With strict obedience, the living creatures hurry to fulfill God’s instructions. Nothing distracted them while they were on a mission for the King of the universe. Knowing God who is the embodiment of sight, the melody of sound, the nectarine of taste, and the euphoria of touch, what else in our world could capture their attention and steal their focus from God? They dwell in the presence of a holy God, their mission was to do as He commanded and nothing else. Therefore, as the King James Version explained, the living creatures “turned not where they went.”
By getting rid of distractions that steal away our focus on God, we can better understand the ruins. Getting out of the ruins, therefore means to obey God’s call to Turn, Turn and Live. It means to obey God’s call to walk where He has made the way. It means to obey Him and only Him. Then once you turn to God, keep your eyes on Him. Keep listening to Him, and as David says, “taste and see that He is good.” From then on, focus! Keep going straight forward.
Proverbs 2: 10, “For wisdom and truth will enter the very center of your being, filling your life with joy.”
Artwork: Avocet Brooks ( Used with permission)