Thursday, October 29, 2009

“Within the Fire”



Ezekiel 1:5-10
Within the fire were what looked like four creatures vibrant with life. Each had the form of a human being, (6) but each also had four faces and four wings. (7) Their legs were as sturdy and straight as columns, but their feet were hoofed like those of a calf and sparkled from the fire like burnished bronze. (8) On all four sides under their wings they had human hands. All four had both faces and wings, (9) with the wings touching one another. They turned neither one way nor the other; they went straight forward. (10) Their faces looked like this: In front a human face, on the right side the face of a lion, on the left the face of an ox, and in back the face of an eagle.




Each of the four living beings had four faces, symbolizing God's perfect nature. Some believe that the lion represented strength; the ox, diligent service; the human, intelligence; and the eagle, divinity. Others see these as the most majestic of God's creatures and say that they therefore represented God's whole creation. The early church fathers saw a connection between these beings and the four Gospels: the lion with Matthew, presenting Christ as the Lion of Judah; the ox with Mark, portraying Christ as the Servant; the human with Luke, portraying Christ as the perfect human; the eagle with John, portraying Christ as the Son of God, exalted and divine. The vision of John in Revelation 4 parallels Ezekiel's vision.


So here we have special creatures, supernatural and unusual, coming out of a cloud lined with fire. Ezekiel hasn't told us everything about his vision, but two things are evident. (1) Something that is supernatural and that involves God on the move is about to happen. (2) It is happening in Mesopotamia, to exiles who thought themselves hopelessly removed from God's presence and out of the picture religiously, as well as economically and politically.



The phrase that really spoke to me this morning is, "Within the fire were what looked like four creatures vibrant with life..." I am so thankful that Jesus doesn't bail out on me when I am going through the fire. Over and over again I read in the Scriptures that God spoke in the storm, walked with His children through the fire, stayed with them through the lions den, led them across the Red Sea, knocked down walls, walked with them in the valley to face giants, stood with them as they were martyred, and I could go on and on. I am so thankful that in today's text God was seen "within the fire..." I am not alone when I face difficult times. Even if I feel alone. I walk by FAITH and not FEELINGS. God never promised that we wouldn't have difficult times. In fact, quite the contrary. Jesus said in John 16:33 (msg) "I've told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I've conquered the world."


The Word says in Isaiah 43:2-3 "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned or scorched, nor will the flame kindle upon you. (3) For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior..."


One of my favorite songs is "Through the fire" by the Crabb Family. The words are powerful:

So many times I've questioned certain circumstances
Or things I could not understand
Many times in trials, weakness blurs my vision
And my frustrations get so out of hand
It's then I am reminded I've never been forsaken
I've never had to stand the test alone
As I look at all the victories, the Spirit rises up in me
It's through the fire my weakness is made strong

And He never promised the cross would not get heavy and the hill would not be hard to climb
He never offered victory without fighting but He said help would always come in time
Just remember when you're standing in the valley of decision and the adversary says give in
Just hold on, our Lord will show up and He will take you through the fire again

I know within myself that I would surely perish
But if I trust the hand of God, He'll shield the flames again

Thank the Lord that He is "within the fire!"




"Lord, when I read Ezekial 1:5 and saw the words "within the fire" I wanted to shout hallelujah as I was once again reminded how many times you have walked with me through the fire. You promised me that I would make it through the fire, and that you would be with me. You have never broken Your Word to me, and you never will because Hebrews 6:18 says 'God can't break his word. And because his word cannot change, the promise is likewise unchangeable. We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go.' Thank you for that truth Lord. I will make it through this fire because you are WITH ME! In Jesus name, amen!"


Anonymous said...

Love this. I feel as if I have been walking through the fire for many years now. However, I realize that my God is always there. When this earthly life knocks me down, my God is still always there. Thank you Jesus!