Focal Passage: Ezekiel 1:1-3; 1:28; 2:1-5; 6:7-10
I recall hearing my pastor once say, “nothing grows on a mountaintop.” I did not really understand what he meant when he said that. Of course, I was only 12-years-old and had never seen a mountain. In 2013, however, I made a cross-country trip on my motorcycle. While riding through the mountains in Colorado I understood his illustration much better. A mountaintop offers a tremendous view and is awe-inspiring. But very little growth happens there.
In Ezekiel 1:1-3 we are introduced to the prophet while he is in exile. But he is not there alone; the Lord is there with him. Often when we face times of crisis we think the Lord has abandoned us. Yet, these verses in Ezekiel remind us God was still with him, and He was still using him.
Ezekiel learned that not only was God using him there in exile, but that God’s glory is not limited by national boundaries. Indeed, in Ezekiel 1:28 we learn that God’s glory was so radiant that the only response Ezekiel could give was to fall facedown on the ground. We really shouldn’t be surprised. After all, God’s glory shines the brightest when it is revealed in the darkest moments of our lives. Ezekiel was going to speak to a people that God referred to as “obstinate and hard hearted.” Ezekiel had a challenging mission that required the power of the Spirit (v. 2) to accomplish. His experience is a great reminder to us that we can do nothing apart from the Spirit’s empowerment. More than that, it is a reminder that tangible results are not always indications of obedience.
Ezekiel’s message is very challenging because he has to share bad news with suffering people. He has to inform them that they are suffering because of their own disobedience. Yet, it is this suffering that will ultimately drive them back to the Lord (Ezekiel 6:7-10).
Too often we value the “mountaintop experiences” in life. These passages from Ezekiel are reminders that God is with us in the valleys. Indeed, God often uses the experiences in the valley to teach us to depend upon Him all the more.