In the previous study we saw Ezekiel describing the cherubim and the wheels with them, and how they all moved in unison without turning. I already did a detailed study of the significance of all of this much earlier in this series. What is new is this description that the cherubim were full of eyes. Their entire bodies and wings were covered in eyes. This can be strange to imagine. And is there a significance? In one sense there is – when you see the significance of the appearance of their faces, which is about different aspects of the nature of god.
The eyes just confirm something else that we already know about god – that nothing is hidden and that god sees all.
Then the spirit lifted me up and brought me to the gate of the house of the Lord that faces east. There at the entrance of the gate were twenty-five men, and I saw among them Jaazaniah son of Azzur and Pelatiah son of Benaiah, leaders of the people. The Lord said to me, ‘Son of man, these are the men who are plotting evil and giving wicked advice in this city. They say, “Haven’t our houses been recently rebuilt? This city is a pot, and we are the meat in it.” Therefore prophesy against them; prophesy, son of man.’
Then the Spirit of the Lord came on me, and he told me to say: ‘This is what the Lord says: that is what you are saying, you leaders in Israel, but I know what is going through your mind. You have killed many people in this city and filled its streets with the dead.
Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: the bodies you have thrown there are the meat and this city is the pot, but I will drive you out of it. You fear the sword, and the sword is what I will bring against you, declares the Sovereign Lord. I will drive you out of the city and deliver you into the hands of foreigners and inflict punishment on you. You will fall by the sword, and I will execute judgement on you at the borders of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Lord. The city will not be a pot for you, nor will you be the meat in it; I will execute judgement on you at the borders of Israel. And you will know that I am the Lord, for you have not followed my decrees or kept my laws but have conformed to the standards of the nations around you.’
This story is one that we can see repeated many times throughout history. Indeed we can see this today in many nations of the world, and perhaps most of all in the western nations. This idea that we are safe within the walls, that life will carry on, and that we can rule it over our fellow man – particularly if you are fortunate enough to be wealthy or in a position of power. The rest are just cattle to provide you with comfort…
And god is saying, in this passage, that this attitude is not only in other nations, it is in our nation, in the church – even our church. But the very thing you fear will come on you, and you will not find the shelter within these walls.
You know, this message works whether you are in judgement or in blessing. This works for the Christian and the pagan, the saved and the lost.
It is just not good enough to sit in comfort thinking that everything will be OK. The thing that you fear will come on you. It is like a spiritual law. If you look in the book of Job, you will see that the only weakness, the one thing that allowed the devil access to him, was that he feared the very thing that happened to him.
People hide away from their fears. The rich rulers here in the text, hiding in the walls of the city (we are the meat in the pot – and the meat is the valuable bit). But yet, despite comforting each other and giving bad advice, they had fears. It is revealed in these scriptures: they feared the sword. So the Lord was going to bring them the sword, drive them out from the city, and take them as far away from their comfort as they could think – to the borders of Israel.
So they were to be taken out from their comfort zones, and then they would have judgement executed on them.
And actually the same can be said for all of us. That we need to look at our own hearts and to see what we hide away in there. What are we afraid of? Sickness? War? Robbers? Loss of family? Loss of work? Poverty? Loneliness?
I tell you, that what you fear, especially when you try to hide away from it, is something that tends to rush into your life when you least expect it. It is no good hiding away from these things.
People do this in all kinds of ways, none of which leave anything particularly positive in your life, and some being dangerous to health. People can escape into sex, drugs or alcohol. They can live in a fantasy world, whether television, computer games or books. They can ‘comfort eat’ or spend lots of time in the gym or running. There are so many ways that people find escape from their fears instead of facing their fears.
Of course, I am not saying that it is wrong to find peace for the heart, mind and soul – in fact that is the whole point! The Lord desires peace and wholeness and happiness for each and every one of us. And that is not ever truly there when there is still fear, even if hidden fear.
I have no scriptural authority for saying this, but it sometimes seems to be that the Lord allows the very thing we fear to happen to us, because that is the only way we can be made to face the fear and to deal with it.
The prophecy in the scripture was directed at evil leadership, and yet it focused on judging them by the very thing that they feared. Their judgement was to death, and to destruction.
But strangely this same judgement works for Christians and who want to please the Lord. This time the judgement is not to death and destruction, but for the purpose of making us better, stronger, and to remove the evil of fear from our lives. Only when fear is removed can we have a true peace in our hearts, minds and soul.
For me, this is part of the principle of taking up the cross daily. Each day, for however long it may be necessary, begin the day with a crucifixion of your fears. Pin them to the cross with Christ. See them replaced with the Lord’s love, strength and guidance. Reckon your fears dead with Christ, and see them replaced with hope. And have all of this covered in the love of Christ – because in love there is no fear.
It may be that you have to do this every day. But as you claim the peace of the Lord in your heart, and the hope that replaces the fear, you will find that you will gain victory even in this. It is part of being perfected by the spirit in Christ.
And then there is no fear to leave the comfort zone, to go out and perform conquests for the glory of the Lord!