In Ezekiel’s first vision, God gave him a glimpse of the heavenly throne. To Ezekiel, “the sky spreading out above them looked as though it were made of crystal; it was inexpressibly beautiful” (1: 22). Imagine the vast sky sparkling like crystals. We’ve seen the glory of God in the sunrise. We’ve seen a holy flame from the sunset. But what Ezekiel saw above the ruins left him speechless.
Not only did he see the sky transformed into a blanket of crystals, but he also saw, “high in the sky above them, what looked like a throne made of beautiful blue sapphire stones” (vs 26).
In Ezekiel’s second vision, “Suddenly a throne of beautiful blue sapphire appeared in the sky above and upon it sat someone who appeared to be a Man. From his waist up, he seemed to be all glowing bronze, dazzling like fire; and from his waist down he seemed to be entirely flame, and there was a glowing halo like a rainbow all around him. That was the way the glory of the Lord appeared to me” (2: 26-28).
After reading both chapters something moving jumped out at him. Notice that the most beautiful and glorious part of Ezekiel’s vision was displayed above the ruins. Throughout Ezekiel’s experience, God kept transporting him ‘above’ the ruins. Here’s why:
- Holiness lives above the ruins. To experience the holiness of God, to exercise reverence before Him requires us to look and live above the ruins. The Spirit kept leading Ezekiel’s eyes to the glory above the ruins. Purity, sincerity, truth and integrity will not surface in the muck of the ruins. Those who seek to experience these attributes in their lives must leave the rubble of the ruins, and look above the ruins.
- God calls us to dwell above the ruins. Every time the Spirit took Ezekiel He “Lifted him up” (Ezekiel 3: 12, 14; 8: 3). When Ezekiel fell on his face, the Spirit set him on his feet, and lifted his thoughts and eyes to the place above the ruins where God dwells. For those whose eyes remain fixed on this place, will find that the ruins dwindle against the emerging power of God. When the prodigal son realized his ruinous circumstances he said, “I will arise and go” (Luke 15: 18). The physical state of the ruins is inescapable, it’s there before our eyes; we can’t help but see the devastation all around. However, the mental state is our choice. We may have to live in the ruins, but we don’t have to dwell there. Ezekiel, Daniel, Joseph and Moses, lived in the ruins of their circumstances, but dwelt above them. Their focus was on God. The soul does not have to dwell where the body lives. If you dwell above the ruins, you’ll live better in the ruins. Coping in the ruins means keeping your eyes out of the ruins and upon God.
- God sits above the ruins but His eyes are fixed below. God knows the ruins more than we do. From His seat above, He has a bird’s eye view of the ruins and nothing misses His attention. Ezekiel 8 tells us that the Spirit transported him higher and he “looked and, sure enough, north of the altar gate in the entrance stood the idol” (vs 5). From that height of holiness, Ezekiel saw the great sins of the people. Like the Israelites, many are saying God, “doesn’t see us; He has gone away”( vs 12). God sees everything and the higher you go the more you’ll see…literally and spiritually. We will never understand the vastness of our sins unless we take a climb higher, to the place above the ruins.
There is a place above the ruins where God dwells. He moves about in the ruins of our world seeking men, calling them to come up higher. On the higher grounds of holiness, we can see the vastness of sin as Ezekiel saw. Ezekiel was sitting in the ruins with some of the Jewish people, maybe complaining about the anarchy and devastation around them. But, the Spirit took Him higher in the physical and spiritual realm. God called him out of a ruinous state of mind. We can be in the ruins, but God can take away our ruinous state of mind and give us peace. God is calling you to that place above the ruins. As we learn to dwell in that state of holiness, we will begin to see our world through the lens of our Holy Father. Dwelling above the ruins will prepare us to live with Him forever in holiness. However, we need to develop the state of mind here, before we get up there.
Philippians 3: 19, 20, “Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and their glory is in their shame. Their minds are set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,…”
Artwork: Donald Keefe (Used with Permission)