Ezekiel comes to us as a stranger from a distant time and land. Who is this priest who, on his thirtieth birthday, has a dazzling vision of God on a wheeled throne? Who is this odd prophet who engages in outlandish street theater and speaks for God on international affairs? Who is this seer who paints murals of apocalyptic doom and then of a restored temple bursting with emblems of paradise? Are we bound to take this literally, reading prophet and newspaper side by side? Or is there a better way?
Christopher Wright is a proven interpreter and communicator of the Old Testament, and he masterfully opens our eyes to see and understand the message of Ezekiel. Ezekiel’s vision of the glory of God—its departure and return—is first set within Israel’s history and then in the culmination of God’s promises in Christ. Embedded in the pattern of the strange, the bizarre, and the wonderful is a word that still speaks to God’s people today.
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“The two terms heart (lēḇ) and spirit (rûaḥ) describe the inner human person. In Hebrew idiom, the heart is the locus of the mind, not primarily of the emotions. It is in or with the heart that a person thinks, decides and wills. The spirit reflects the inner feelings and aspirations of the person—again, not merely in the sense of emotions, but in terms of the attitude, disposition and motivation which one brings to choices and actions. The two terms are closely related, but not identical. Israel will have to think differently, and feel differently. Their whole inner world needs to be transformed.” (Page 296)
“As it happens, Ezekiel will say some of the sweetest things ever said by any prophet, but the way to those words lies through the faithful proclamation of God’s terrible severity and judgment.” (Page 59)
“Yet in principle their action is endemic to the people of God in every era. We proclaim our covenant loyalty to the living God. We put our lives under his protection and affirm his sovereign power. We sing songs about his great faithfulness and our eternal security. And yet so often in real life we act as though we had no confidence in God at all for our future. Instead, we expend enormous amounts of material and emotional resources on fixing things up for ourselves. It is well worth regularly checking where we have drawn the line between the wisdom that makes prudent provision for the future for ourselves and our families and the idolatry that builds all our hope and security on the modern equivalents of the gods and armies of Egypt.” (Page 105)
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