Ezekiel 48

It’s All About God.

The distance around the entire city will be six miles. And from that day the name of the city will be ‘The Lord Is There.‘” – Ezekiel 48:35 NLT

The book of Ezekiel has finally come to an end. It has been 22 years since Ezekiel first saw his vision of God and received his commission as God’s prophet to the people of Judah. His ministry began with an unbelievable glimpse of the glory of God. He was given a word to deliver from the very mouth of God, predicting the coming siege of Jerusalem, the destruction of the Temple and the deportation of the people of Judah to Babylon. In chapters ten, Ezekiel was shown the real tragedy of it all – the glory of God departing the Temple. The very presence and power of God was being removed from their midst due to their sin and rebellion. But two decades later, God gave Ezekiel another vision of a rebuilt Temple, a restored Jerusalem and a revived relationship with the people of God. The book of Ezekiel ends with the city of Jerusalem referred to by the name, “The Lord Is There,” and if the Lord is there that means His glory has returned once again to the city. This book began with the glory of God and end with it. God will one day reestablish His permanent residence in the city of Jerusalem. The abiding presence of God is a powerful image with which to sum up this book. While God had to punish His people for their sins, He never abandoned them completely. He remained faithful and committed to His plan for them. Even while they were in exile, He sent His prophets to communicate His message to them. And ultimately, God returned them to the land. But there is a day yet future when God will complete His plan for the people of Israel and fully fulfill His promises to them. He will once again make His place among them, so that the city of Jerusalem can truly be called, “The Lord Is There.”

Father, how amazing it is to think about Your faithfulness. To read about the sins of the people of Israel and Judah and to imagine how You, as a righteous and holy God, must have felt as they repeatedly proved themselves unfaithful to you is hard to imagine. Yet You remained faithful. And You will one day restore this rebellious people to a right relationship to You – not because they deserve it, but simply because You are faithful. Thank You for reminding me of just how faithful and trustworthy You are. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men
kenm@christchapelbc.org

Ezekiel 47

River of Life.

Then he said to me, ‘This river flows east through the desert into the valley of the Dead Sea. The waters of this stream will make the salty waters of the Dead Sea fresh and pure. There will be swarms of living things wherever the water of this river flows. Fish will abound in the Dead Sea, for its waters will become fresh. Life will flourish wherever this water flows.’” – Ezekiel 47:8-9 NLT

What an amazing picture of God’s faithfulness. Not only is He going to restore the land and the people to it, He is going to rebuild the Temple, reinstate the sacrificial system and renew their hearts. God is going to make it possible for the Israelites to serve Him faithfully so that they can remain in the land. He will give them new hearts and a new desire to serve Him faithfully.

For I will gather you up from all the nations and bring you home again to your land. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols. And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations. And you will live in Israel, the land I gave your ancestors long ago. You will be my people, and I will be your God. – Ezekiel 36:24-26 NLT

This entire vision give to Ezekiel is about what God is going to do in the future Millennial Kingdom. God is not only going to change the hearts of the people, He is going to change the nature of the land of Israel. In his vision, Ezekiel sees a river flowing from the Holy of Holies. This river will flow out from the Temple grounds and into the Jordan Valley, slowly growing larger and deeper as it makes its way to the Dead Sea. And as its waters flow into the Dead Sea it will transform this lifeless body of water into a fish-filled, tree-bounded paradise. This river of life will dramatically alter the topography of the land. Having been to the Dead Sea, the idea of this barren wasteland being transformed into a tropical paradise is amazing. Trees will grow where no trees exist right now. Fish will swim where no fish can exist right now. Life will flourish in an area known as the Dead Sea. That is a picture of the transforming power of God. He will make all things new. This river reminds us of another river that will exist in the eternal state. The apostle John was given a vision of it and he describes it in the book of Revelation.

“Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” – Revelation 22:1-2 NASB

God is all about restoring life and bringing about healing, and these things flow from His throne. He is the source of life. Only through Him can men be restored to new life. He can take what was once dead and bring it back to life. He can transform dead lives and renew lifeless seas. That’s the God we serve.

Father, thank You for life. Thank You for renewing my life and placing Your life-giving Spirit within me. You are renewing me daily, transforming me from dead self-righteousness to true righteousness. And it is ALL Your doing, not mine. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men
kenm@christchapelbc.org

Ezekiel 46

Hindsight Is 20-20.

“Each Sabbath day the prince will present to the Lord a burnt offering of six lambs and one ram, all with no defects.” – Ezekiel 46:4 NLT

God is giving Ezekiel a tour of the new Temple that will exist in the Millennial Kingdom. This is the period of 1,000 years after Christ’s return when He will rule and reign in the city of Jerusalem – sitting on the throne of David. During this time, God will have the Temple rebuilt, the priesthood reestablished and the sacrificial system reinstated. But that begs the question, “Why?” If Christ died for sins once for all (1 Peter 3:18), then why would there be a need for a sacrificial system? If Christ’s death on the cross paid the price for our sins once for all, there seems to no purpose for having the sacrifices reinstated during the Millennial Kingdom. But God is very specific in His description of what He will expect during those days. He describes in great detail what sacrifices will be offered and how they should be done. So God must have a purpose.

It is interesting that the two feasts God seems to emphasize are the feast of Passover and Tabernacles or Booths. Both of these events were associated with the Exodus and God’s deliverance of the people from their bondage in Egypt. The Passover was instituted as a memorial celebration of God’s miraculous deliverance of the people of God from the Death Angel that visited the land of Egypt and struck down the firstborn male of every household, as well as the firstborn male among the livestock. God spared the Israelites as long as they sacrificed an unblemished lamb and put its blood on the doorway of their homes. The Feast of Booths was a time when the people were to erect hastily built shelters to remind them of their wilderness wandering years. They were to be a symbol of God’s provision and protection during those difficult years as they made their way to the Promised Land. All of these sacrifices and celebrations are reminders of God’s grace, provision, and deliverance. They were all designed to point to God future provision and deliverance through Christ. They were representative of the future work of Christ. In the Millennial Kingdom they will continue to be representative, but more by way of reminder. They will be looking BACK, not forward. These sacrifices, once symbolic of Christ’s coming and His future sacrifice on the cross, will be reminders of what Christ has DONE. He will be living among the people, reigning and ruling from the throne of David. They will be looking back, in retrospect, to Christ’s redemptive work on the cross. So in that sense, they will be memorials and will probably have nothing to do with the forgiveness of sins. But God is very clear with Ezekiel that these sacrifices will be a part of worship in the Millennial Kingdom and they must be done according to God’s exacting standards. It should remind us that God has a reason for everything that He does. The sacrificial system was not just a temporary requirement that lived out its usefulness and purpose. God has a reason behind all that He does and one day that same sacrificial system will be reinstated, completing its purpose of pointing men to Christ. The Lamb of God will sit on the throne in Jerusalem, and innocent, unblemished lambs will be sacrificed as a visual reminder of the redemptive work that Jesus did on the cross.

Father, we sometimes have a hard time appreciating what Your Son did for us on the cross. We find it hard to fathom the depth of the agony and pain He suffered on our behalf. When I think of the sacrificial system and the death of all those animals, I can’t help but think how powerful a reminder that will be of Christ’s blood being shed and His body being broken. Never let His sacrifice become old hat to me. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men
kenm@christchapelbc.org

Ezekiel 45

Do What Is Just and Right.

“For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: ‘Enough, you princes of Israel! Stop your violence and oppression and do what is just and right. Quit robbing and cheating my people out of their land. Stop expelling them from their homes, says the Sovereign Lord.’” – Ezekiel 45:9 NLT

As God continues to give Ezekiel a tour of the Temple in the future Millennial Kingdom, He reminds Ezekiel that things will be different then. Jerusalem will be under the reign and rule of the Messiah. He will sit on the throne of David and rule with righteousness and integrity. He will have a prince who rules under him who will be in charge of the city of Jerusalem and the Temple grounds. This prince will be holy, righteous and just. He will be honest and above-board, ethical in his behavior and just in his administration of his duties – unlike the princes that had ruled in Jerusalem in the years leading up to the nation’s fall to Babylon. For hundreds of years, the leadership in Judah had been characterized by greed, corruption, immorality, unfaithfulness, dishonesty, and disobedience to the laws of God. Even in Ezekiel’s day, the pattern continued. So God tells them, “I’ve put up with you long enough, princes of Israel! Quit bullying and taking advantage of my people. Do what’s just and right for a change” (Ezekiel 45:9 MSG). They were guilty of embezzlement, fraud, graft, and all kinds of corruption. They were taking advantage of the helpless and hopeless. And the corruption of the leadership was infecting the people. Amos describes conditions among the people of Israel this way:

How you hate honest judges! How you despise people who tell the truth! You trample the poor, stealing their grain through taxes and unfair rent. Therefore, though you build beautiful stone houses, you will never live in them. Though you plant lush vineyards, you will never drink wine from them. For I know the vast number of your sins and the depth of your rebellions. You oppress good people by taking bribes and deprive the poor of justice in the courts. So those who are smart keep their mouths shut, for it is an evil time. – Amos 5:10-13 NLT

Corruption is contagious. It spreads like a cancer and ends up infecting everyone it touches. Violence, greed, oppression, and injustice go hand-in-hand. A nation with lousy leadership is toxic to its people. And God points out that there is a day coming when lousy leadership will be replaced with righteous, godly leadership. No longer will the leaders take advantage of the people. Righteousness will reign. And God’s point to Ezekiel and the leaders of his day seems to be, if that is the way it is to be in God’s Millennial Kingdom, why not pursue righteous leadership now? Why not rule justly, honestly and righteously in the present if that is the standard for the future? God’s vision of His future kingdom here on earth is a glimpse into His heart. It shows us what He desires. It reveals what is important to Him. Holiness, righteousness, honesty, order, compassion, obedience, responsibility, justice – all these things will exist perfectly in His future kingdom, but they are just as important to God NOW. And while sin and the presence of the enemy make it impossible to practice these things perfectly, we are to pursue them passionately. We are to “do what is just and right” each and every day within those areas over which we have responsibility. Our lives, as believers, are to be little kingdoms of righteousness in the middle of a very dark world. We of all people should be attempting to live holy and set-apart lives, doing what is just and right, so that the world might get a glimpse of what true justice, love and mercy look like. What is important to God in the future is important to God now. So let’s make His priorities our priorities.

Father, one day You will bring justice and righteousness back to the earth. You will set up Your kingdom here on earth. But in the meantime, help us as Your children to live lives that are examples of what it means to do what is just and right. Help us to be living examples of Your kingdom here on earth. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men
kenm@christchapelbc.org

Ezekiel 44

We Have Our Work Cut Out For Us.

“They will teach my people the difference between what is holy and what is common, what is ceremonially clean and unclean.” – Ezekiel 44:23 NLT

God reminds Ezekiel that the priests who served within the new Temple would have the same job descriptions and responsibilities that they had in the old Temple. And one of the most significant roles they were to play was that of instructor. They were to teach the people of God the difference between what was holy and what was common or ordinary. One of the ways there were to do this was through the example of their own lives. By keeping God’s regulations concerning the sacrifices, they would be showing the people what a set-apart life looks like. Their lives were to be living examples of holiness or set-apartness. And today, according the Peter, we have inherited that role as followers of Jesus Christ. He tells us, “for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9 NLT). We are priests in the kingdom of God and we have a responsibility to model a life of holiness to the world. We are to teach others the difference between the holy and the ordinary. And there should be a difference. Our lives should not blend in with the world around us. We should be distinctive in more than just name or religious affiliation. We should not have to TELL someone we are a Christian. It should be evident by the way we live our lives. Peter describes the kind of life we are to live this way: “So think clearly and exercise self-control. Look forward to the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, ‘You must be holy because I am holy.’” (1 Peter 1:13-16 NLT).

They say the best lessons are caught, not taught. The most effective form of teaching is still modeling. It is in the way we live our lives that we convey the true difference between that which is holy and that which is common or ordinary. When we live as if we have been set apart by God for His use, we will be living holy. When we live for His glory and not our own, we will be living holy. When we put His will ahead of our own, we will be living holy. When we seek the good of His kingdom instead of our own, we will be living holy. When we love others more than we love ourselves, we will be living holy. People were attracted to the distinctiveness of Jesus. The early church grew in the book of Acts because of the distinctiveness of the apostles and the unusual way in which they lived their lives. Holiness is attractive when modeled correctly and lived out sincerely. As priests of God, we are here to teach the difference between that which is holy and everything else in this world. We are to be different, distinct, and set-apart – holy unto the Lord.

Father, continue to show me how to live a holy life, a life that is truly set apart and distinctive from every other life around me. I don’t want to blend in, but stand out as a priest in Your kingdom. I want my life to be a shining example of holiness for the world to see. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men
kenm@christchapelbc.org

Ezekiel 43

The Gravity of God’s Grace.

“Son of man, describe to the people of Israel the Temple I have shown you, so they will be ashamed of all their sins. Let them study its plan, and they will be ashamed of what they have done. Describe to them all the specifications of the Temple—including its entrances and exits—and everything else about it. Tell them about its decrees and laws. Write down all these specifications and decrees as they watch so they will be sure to remember and follow them.” – Ezekiel 43:10-11 NLT

As New Testament believers, we revel in the reality of God’s grace. We appreciate the fact that God has given us something incredible which we never could have earned on our own – eternal life and a restored relationship with Him. Yet, I sometimes think we take grace for granted. I love what Dallas Willard says: “We have a problem today in Evangelical circles. We’re not only saved by grace, we’re paralyzed by it.” We have allowed grace to become a one-dimensional concept that is tied solely to our salvation. We talk about the idea of being saved by grace. It is a priceless gift, unearned and undeserved. But the grace of God should have a long-lasting influence on our lives. There is a future element to grace that I must never lose sight of, because the reality is that I can no more earn my coming glorification than I could my salvation. A day is coming when I will be made complete and whole. I will like Christ, with no more sin nature and an ability to live righteously – completely and permanently. Future grace is a great motivator for present behavior. The future grace of God and the reality of my guaranteed place in His presence for eternity should have a tremendous impact on the way I live my life now.

The same was true for the people of God in Ezekiel’s day. God had given Ezekiel a glimpse of His future kingdom, complete with a newly constructed Temple, occupied by God Himself. God tells Ezekiel to remind the people, “this is the place of my throne and the place where I will rest my feet. I will live here forever among the people of Israel. They and their kings will not defile my holy name any longer by their adulterous worship of other gods or by honoring the relics of their kings who have died” (Ezekiel 43:7 NLT). God then instructs Ezekiel to describe to the people the details of the Temple he has just gotten a tour of. They were to study its plans and go over every specification. Why? Because this was a real place that was going to exist in real time in the future. It was a picture of the future grace of God as He promises to reestablish His presence among the people of Israel. In spite of all they had done to offend God over the years, He was going to extend them grace in the future, and the proof of it was this vision of the rebuilt Temple as given to Ezekiel.

When Dallas Willard says that sometimes we are paralyzed by grace, I think he means that we can easily allow the “grace alone” message to lull us into a sense of spiritual stupor or laziness. God does it all, so we have nothing to do. But grace is opposed to earning, not effort. The knowledge of God’s grace reminds me that I can do nothing to earn His favor. But awareness of His grace should cause me to make every effort to serve Him gratefully and joyfully. By hearing the detailed descriptions of the future Temple, the people of God should be shamed by their own unfaithfulness as opposed to God’s faithfulness. The reality that I have a place reserved for me in heaven should make me want to live my differently here on earth. During their lifetimes, the people of God had desecrated the Temple of God time and time again. And ultimately, God had it destroyed. Today there is no Temple in Jerusalem. In its place sits a mosque. But God has promised that the day is coming when the Temple will be rebuilt. Not because the people of God deserve it, but because God has promised it. It’s presence will be a proof of God’s grace. He will restore the people of Israel – in spite of themselves. That future reality should change their present behavior. And one day God is going complete His work of sanctification in our lives – glorifying us and transforming us into the likeness of His Son – completely and permanently. Awareness of that future grace should shame me when I consider my present behavior. He has done and has promised to do so much for me. How can I live in disobedience and sin when God has such an undeserved future reserved for me?

Father, thank You for future grace. I am grateful for the cross, but never let me lose sight of the reality of heaven. No matter how hard I try, I can’t make myself more holy. I can’t transform myself into the likeness of Christ by sheer effort. But You will one day finish what You have begun. You will glorify me, making me like Your Son. That future promise should have an impact on my present reality. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men
kenm@christchapelbc.org

Ezekiel 42

Set Apart.

“Then he said to me, “The north and south rooms adjacent to the open area are holy rooms where the priests who come before GOD eat the holy offerings. There they place the holy offerings–grain offerings, sin offerings, and guilt offerings. These are set-apart rooms, holy space. After the priests have entered the Sanctuary, they must not return to the outside courtyard and mingle among the people until they change the sacred garments in which they minister and put on their regular clothes.” – Ezekiel 42:13-14 MSG

I find it really interesting that in the middle of all the detailed descriptions of the layout of the future Temple complex, Ezekiel’s “guide” points to a set of rooms and describes them as “holy.” Wouldn’t the entire Temple be holy? The whole structure would be dedicated to the worship of God, so wouldn’t the entire structure be holy? Well, in a sense, yes. But the use of the word “holy” in this context gives us another important aspect of its meaning. It simply means “set-apartness or separateness.” These rooms were dedicated or set apart for a distinct purpose. “Here the priests who offer sacrifices to the Lord will eat the most holy offerings” (Ezekiel 42:13 NLT). These rooms would also be used to store the grain, sin, and guilt offerings. Even within the Temple complex, there was going to be a place “set apart” and made distinct. It would be dedicated for a specific purpose and was not to be used for anything else. When the priests were done ministering in the sanctuary, they had to leave the clothes they wore in this room and change into “street” clothes, because even the garments they wore were holy or set apart. Before they could enter the rest of the Temple or go into the more public or common areas, they had to remove their “holy” clothes, because those clothes had been dedicated to God.

All this makes me think about how we have been set apart by God for His use. We are His people. We have been made holy or set apart by the indwelling presence of the Spirit of God. We belong to God. “Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience” (Colossians 3:12 NLT). God set us apart for a purpose. We are now dedicated to Him and should be used only in the way that He sees fit. We no longer belong to ourselves. The priests could not use the holy garments any way they saw fit. They couldn’t use the holy rooms for any purpose they came up with. Those things belonged to God. We belong to God. We are only to be used for His purposes, not our own. When God commands us, “You must be holy because I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16 NLT), He is telling us that we must be set apart, distinct and different, just as He is. We must reflect His holiness. We must remain dedicated to His use. To take what is holy and set apart and use it for some other purpose would be to profane it. When we use our bodies for purposes other than those for which God has set them apart, we profane them and fail to remain set apart for His use. “And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God” (1 Peter 2:5 NLT).

Father, You have set us apart for Your use. We belong to You. But we regularly profane ourselves by taking what You have dedicated and set apart and re-purposing it for our use. Forgive us and remind us daily the reason You have set us apart through the sacrificial death of Your Son Jesus Christ. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men
kenm@christchapelbc.org

Ezekiel 41

The Holiness of God.

“All the walls were decorated with carvings of cherubim, each with two faces, and there was a carving of a palm tree between each of the cherubim. One face—that of a man—looked toward the palm tree on one side. The other face—that of a young lion—looked toward the palm tree on the other side. The figures were carved all along the inside of the Temple, from the floor to the top of the walls, including the outer wall of the sanctuary.” – Ezekiel 41:18-20 NLT

Everything in God’s future Temple will have a purpose and a reason for its existence. There will be nothing left to chance. Every detail has been worked out beforehand by God. Every measurement has a reason behind it, whether we can see it or not. Even the width of the doors leading from the outside into the vestibule, then into the Holy Place, and then into the the Holy of Holies are sized increasingly smaller for a reason. Like the divine designer He is, God is focusing the attention of the worshiper onto the most important room in the entire building – the Holy of Holies. Everything points to that place. Everything in the Temple reinforces the Holy of Holies and the One who will dwell there. The entire Temple is about the holiness, the set-apartness of God. The walls inside the Temple will be covered in wood paneling, carved with alternating cherubs and palm trees. Each cherub will have two faces, the face of a man and the face of a lion, one looking left and the other right. These creatures were there for a reason. We can see elsewhere in Scripture that cherubim were used by God to protect His holiness. In the book of Exodus, in the instructions given by God for the construction of the Tabernacle. we are told of the two golden cherubim that were to be placed on top of the Ark of the Covenant, their wings spread out over the Ark. “The cherubim will face each other and look down on the atonement cover. With their wings spread above it, they will protect it” (Exodus 25:20 NLT). In the Tabernacle, the curtain that separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies was to have cherubim embroidered on it.
In this future Temple, the paneled walls will feature a repeated pattern of cherubim and palm trees. The cherubim represent protection and security. The palms represent life and prosperity. In God, both come together as one. Holiness, health, and happiness – all are realized in God. There is no real life or prosperity apart from Him. And it is His holiness or set-apartness that makes it all possible. Only God can provide true life and prosperity. And in the future kingdom that Ezekiel is getting a glimpse of, God will rule and reign through His Son Jesus Christ and His holiness will permeate everything. He will have protected His holiness all the way until that day, preserving His name and His integrity and insuring that His divine plan is fulfilled so that we might have life and prosperity in Him. The key to it all? His holiness. There is no other god, but Him. He alone is God.

Father, some day the Temple we see described here to Ezekiel will be built. And when that day comes, it will mean that Your plan has been fulfilled. Your program will have been completed. And Your holiness will fill the world. There will be no more gods, no more unfaithfulness, and no more sin. I look forward to that day. In the meantime, help me remember just how holy You are and that it is Your holiness that makes life and prosperity possible, even now. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men
kenm@christchapelbc.org

Ezekiel 40

Order. Symmetry. Balance.

“He said to me,’Son of man, watch and listen. Pay close attention to everything I show you. You have been brought here so I can show you many things. Then you will return to the people of Israel and tell them everything you have seen.’” – Ezekiel 40:4 NLT

The book of Ezekiel began in chapter one with a vision of God’s glory. Then we read the sad account of the departure of God’s glory in chapters 8-111. Now as we close the end of the book, God is going to give Ezekiel one last glimpse of His glory. He transports Ezekiel from Babylon back to Israel via a vision in order to give him a look at future events. God has already promised to restore His people to the land and to a right relationship with Him. He is going to rebuild the city and the Temple, and now He is showing Ezekiel what it all will look like. These last nine chapters are designed to provide hope to the people of Judah, even as they live in the less-than-ideal conditions of their captivity. God has a plan and that plan is highly specific. The amount of
detail that God gives Ezekiel regarding the layout and measurements of the Temple seem designed to provide confidence in the concrete nature of this vision. It is not a dream, but a reality that is yet to come. And central to that reality is the rebuilt Temple, the center-piece of God’s future kingdom. It is the place where God’s glory departed (Ezekiel 8-11). With the completion of this new Temple, God’s presence will once more dwell among His people. But this vision has yet to be fulfilled. It is a future event waiting for God to bring it about. The Temple built by Nehemiah and Ezra did not meet these descriptions. The Temple built by Herod failed to live up to these plans. And at present, there is no Temple. So what Ezekiel sees has yet to be built. And it will not be built until Jesus establishes His kingdom here on earth. When He returns He will reign in Jerusalem and a new Temple will be built according to the exacting plans and specifications God provides in these passages.

This new Temple will be glorious. It will be a showcase of symmetry, balance and order. It will reflect the perfection of the very God whose dwelling place it is. There is nothing left to chance. No detail is left to the imagination of man. This future Temple will be a glorious structure, beautifully appointed and featuring a perfect blend of balance and symmetry. The detailed measurements and descriptions are designed to give Ezekiel and the people living in exile hope for the future. They will never live to see this construction project started or completed. But they can rest in the knowledge that their God has a plan for the future restoration of their nation. He is not done with them yet. Ezekiel was to play close attention to what he saw and share it with those with whom he lived and to whom he had been delivering God’s message of doom and destruction. Punishment was coming, but so was restoration. The Temple had been destroyed, but the day was coming when it would be rebuilt. Just as God had given Moses detailed plans for the Tabernacle in the wilderness, God was giving Ezekiel a detailed description of the Temple grounds that were yet to come. God’s plan is not yet complete. He is not done yet. But He will bring it about – down to the last detail.

Father, when I read this chapter, I can get lost in all the details and measurements. They don’t see to serve any point and tend to become just a blur of numbers, measurements, and descriptions. But they are there for a reason. Every room, wall, brick, board, and ornament will have a purpose. The order, balance, and symmetry described in these chapters are a reflection of the God this building is to represent. You are perfect and balanced in every way. You are complete in every detail. You are going to fully accomplish what You have started. Right down to the last detail. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men
kenm@christchapelbc.org

Ezekiel 39

You Are For Me.

“I will end the captivity of my people; I will have mercy on all Israel, for I jealously guard my holy reputation!” – Ezekiel 39:25 NLT

As I read the words of the prophet Ezekiel to the people of Judah, I can’t help but hear God speak to my heart. He was telling His people that He was for them. He was on their side – that in spite of their disobedience and unfaithfulness, He was going to redeem and restore them. He said, “Everything will happen just as I have declared it” (Ezekiel 39:8 NLT). God was going to destroy all their enemies – those who ultimately stood against Him. He was going to renew and restore their relationship to Him. God was going to great things that would prove once and for all to Jew and Gentile alike just how great and majestic He really was. “I will make known my holy name among my people of Israel. I will not let anyone bring shame on it. And the nations, too, will know that I am the Lord, the Holy One of Israel. That day of judgment will come, says the Sovereign Lord. Everything will happen just as I have declared it” (Ezekiel 39:7-8 NLT).

The faithfulness of God is not some ethereal concept that has no reality in everyday life. God is constantly faithful. There is never a time when He is not faithful. It would be outside of His character – His very nature – to be anything but faithful. We can learn so much about our God as we read about Him in the Old Testament. We can glean so much about His character as we watch how He interacts with the people of Israel. He is holy and just. He is patient and forgiving. He can be both wrathful and merciful – at the same time. His wrath always has a purpose. His anger is always justified. God punishes justly and restores graciously. He is on our side. He is for me, not against me. He cares enough for me to discipline me. He loves me enough to send His Son to die for me in order that He might forgive me and restore me. What He plans to do for the people of Israel, He has already done for me.  “Then my people will know that I am the Lord their God, because I sent them away to exile and brought them home again. I will leave none of my people behind. And I will never again turn my face from them, for I will pour out my Spirit upon the people of Israel. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!” (Ezekiel 39:28-29 NLT).

All of this reminds me of a song I heard recently. It was sung at my niece’s wedding by the young lady who wrote and recorded it. The song is called You Are For Me and the words reflect the character of our God. He is for us, not against us. He is faithful, constant, loving and true. He is powerful in all He does. And He is constantly trying to reveal to us just how incredibly unique He is. The amazing thing is that this transcendent, all-powerful, unknowable God has chosen to make Himself known to us. How well do you really know Him today?

So faithful. So constant.
So loving and so true.
So powerful in all You do.

You fill me. You see me.
You know my every move
and You love for me to sing to You.

I know that You are for me.
I know that You are for me.
I know that You will never,
forsake me in my weaknesses

I know that You have come now,
even if to write upon my heart.
To remind me who You are.

So patient, So gracious,
So merciful and true…
So wonderful in all You do.
You know me. You see me.
You know my every move.
You love for me to sing to You

Lord, I know that You are for me.
I know that You are for me.
I know that You will never,
forsake me in my weaknesses.
I know that You have come now,
even if to write upon my heart.

To remind me that
I know that You are for me.
I know that You are for me.
I know that You will never,
forsake me in my weaknesses.
I know that You have come now,
even if to write upon my heart.
To remind me who You are.

I know that You are for me.
I know that You are for me.
I know that You will never,
forsake me in my weaknesses.
I know that You will come now,
even if to write upon my heart.
To remind me of who You are.

Father, I want to know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you are for me. I want to know, from daily experience, just how much You love me. I want your love, constancy, power, love, mercy, grace, and abiding presence to be real in my life through the ups and down of life. I want to know and believe that You really are for me. You will never forsake me – even in my weaknesses. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men
kenm@christchapelbc.org