So far, we saw the disobedience and rebellion of the Israelites. We learned that God had sent prophets to warn, but also to encourage them. He gave them opportunities for repentance, but they reverted to the same sins of idolatry, irreverence and insubordination. God had to discipline them because “whom the lord loveth he chasteneth” (Heb 12: 6), simultaneously, giving them assurance of his restoration. He called on Ezekiel.
In chapter 1, God began by first getting Ezekiel’s attention with a whirlwind, just like he did by getting Moses attention with the burning bush and Paul’s attention with a bright light. God then demonstrated order, unity, obedience and holiness, through the focused and harmonious movement of the living creatures in preparation for His appearance. God showed up in a glorious flame of fire, and Ezekiel fell on his face in recognition of the Most High God. Because, those who are genuinely called to do God’s work, must first have a personal encounter with Him. Such untainted glimpse of the true God, would enable Ezekiel to preach truth poured out from the very mouth of God. Otherwise, his efforts would have been futile and his time wasted.
We also saw how, God relayed to Ezekiel that He is made for the work in the ruins. We felt Ezekiel’s bitterness and anger for seven days. We watched him surrender under the Spirit’s guiding and firm hand, by uniting his heart with God’s. He ate the spiritual food and digested it in preparation for the work. The Spirit strengthened him, then God told him to wait.
“Go, imprison yourself in your house, and I will paralyze you so you can’t leave…I will make your tongue stick to the roof of your mouth so that you can’t reprove them; for they are rebels. But whenever I give you a message, then I will loosen your tongue and let you speak…” (Ezekiel 3: 24-26).
After such elaborate show of heavenly display, after having Ezekiel stressing about the work for a whole week, after having the Spirit of God strengthened Ezekiel, God now tells him to wait.
God further makes it even harder for Ezekiel: imprisonment, paralysis, loss of speech, and the unbearable LONG waiting. But why the wait?
- Ezekiel needed to learn how to totally shift his dependence on God. His every move must now be God’s move. Every action must send God’s message.
- Ezekiel had to learn to speak not on his turn, or using his own words, but under the Spirit’s guidance. Every word, must be God’s word.
- Ezekiel’s work was not about him, it was God’s. God had to get the credit, not Ezekiel, that the people may know that HE is Lord.
- Ezekiel’s message was not only for that time, that place or those people. It was a message for times, places and people long after Ezekiel was gone.
- God’s work had to be done, God’s way, in God’s time.
God may have taken you through stages of your ruins like He did Ezekiel. You may be thinking that God was ready for you to leave the ruins, but He still has you there. You may be thinking that you already did everything that He wanted you to do. You may be thinking that you are fully surrendered. But, are you? God knows when you are ready. He knows where He wants you to be and when He wants you to be there. If He has done some preparation on your heart but still have you waiting in the ruins, like Ezekiel…wait.
Wait in the ruins if you must, but focus on God; keep going straight forward. He will do what He promised that He will do, when it is time. Joseph had to wait, so did Moses and Abraham. In the dark room of delay, God sets ajar the door; His light seeps in, just to let us know, He’s not far away. He’s working while we are waiting. He watching while we are learning.
So let’s thank God that His wisdom is far too encompassing for us to understand. Thank God that He protects us from working where He has not prepared the fields. Thank God that He speaks only when it is needful. Thank God that He keeps us quiet when He is not speaking through us. Thank God for the ruins to teach us patience.
We encounter our personal ruins, but there is also the ruins of the world, because we will be here until He comes to eradicate all types of ruins…forever. Even if our personal circumstances change, the world is still out there. Don’t cheat yourself of the time, God needs to adequately prepare you for the walk towards and the work for eternity. The time in the ruins is your healing time, it’s your growing up time. It may be the worst time of your life, but the greatest time of God’s grace. You don’t want to rush it and relapse back to the ruins. When you leave, leave ready. Leave for good. Leave to work. Leave having perfect love, faith and obedience to God. Until you have those, wait with your eyes on God. He will set you free, release your burden, heal your paralysis, loosen your tongue and let you speak.
Lamentations 3: 25-26, “The Lord is wonderfully good to those who wait for him, to those who seek for him. It is good both to hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”
Artwork: Donald Keefe (Used with permission)