Monday, March 26, 2012

Lightning Storms and Drafting Zeke


Photo credits

He was thirty years old. 

Well-educated, articulate, up-to-date with history and current events, well-versed in foreign affairs, he was nonetheless an oddity. Forced into exile by a conquering nation, he lived thousands of miles from home and everything was unfamiliar – the language, cultures, and religion were all different. Still, he married and settled down, trying to make the best of circumstances. 

Four years into it, everything changed. Standing by the banks of the Kebar River with other exiles, he suddenly spotted a towering windstorm to the north, with an immense cloud, scattering lightning bolts. 

In amazingly vivid prose, Ezekiel went on to describe a vision of heaven and a conversation he had with God. It is wild and crazy, and hard to even imagine. What caught me this week were some lines in chapter 2 of Ezekiel. The first thing God said to this exiled man was: “Son of man (human), stand up on your feet and I will speak to you.” 

Wow! Imagine the Creator telling you to “Stand up and I will speak to you.” 

Next the Creator told Ezekiel that he was sending him with a message to his fellow Israelites. “And whether they listen or fail to listen –for they are a rebellious house—they will know that a prophet has been among them.” 

God went on to tell Ezekiel three times, “do not be afraid…” ending with “Do not be afraid of what they say or terrified by them…”   … “You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen… But you, son of man (human), listen to what I say to you.” 

The conversation between Ezekiel and the Creator of the world continued for several more chapters, but I am still processing the first part of this interaction. 

It intrigues me that Ezekiel – can I call him Zeke? It intrigues me that Zeke is a God-follower, but hasn’t been in ministry or anything up until now. 

To recap… at age twenty-six he was swept away to a new land, uprooted to a new, unfamiliar situation. Out of his element, he strived still to follow his God in a foreign land, surrounded by people of different beliefs and ways. Praying alongside other exiles at the river, he suddenly encountered God in a brand new way. Loud, audible, visible with unimaginable creatures, lights, colors, and storms, Zeke heard his God speaking to him, drafting him into a wild assignment with his God. 

Earmarks of this were:
-four years into living in an unfamiliar area, God started something big and different with Zeke, calling him into service
-it might seem scary
-don’t listen to what naysayers would tell him; only listen to God’s words
-speak God’s words
-their response was not his responsibility; his obedience was
-a result: they would know that a prophet of God had been among them

While God hasn’t spoken to me out of a windstorm, this still convicts me. Am I taking in God’s words to me (the Bible, prayer, etc.)? Am I speaking out his truths even if the results could be scary? More convicting still, do people see God’s voice and presence in me, knowing that a God-follower was among them? 

I’m linking with Ann and Michelle today in thanking God that:
-he speaks!
-his Word (the Bible) is captivating and alive
-that he can use all of us to speak his words to the world around us, to share his love for them
-that he can grab us out of whatever setting he finds us in and draft us into wild assignments

So, what surroundings have you been in for the last four years? Is it odd to think of God calling out to you during a normal prayer time with him and giving you a vivid assignment? Do you sense him doing that now or have you felt that before?

12 comments:

Lisa said...

Wow, Jennifer, this is beautiful. You have made such important (and convicting!) points. It is so encouraging that the Lord tells us throughout the Bible to "not be afraid." It is not easy to have total trust and be obedient in all things, but it is wonderful that we have a God who forgives us always! :-) Thank you for visiting my blog and for your kind comments. Many blessings, Lisa

Michelle @ Changed By The Maker said...

My personal experience is that, in order to hear, you have to be willing to listen. Although I have felt God speaking to me at different times in the past, I don't think I've been listening well or deeply of late. I'm sort of just treading water.... Your post was a needed reminder to spend more time listening because I know that He does speak. Thanks, Jen!

Rachel said...

I have spent the past several years just surviving parenting special challenges that have entered our lives through our awesome kids. But, about a year ago, I started feeling a stirring to do a little something more. I volunteered this fall to "help" with the third graders at my church. A week in, we discovered we had been left teacherless. So, now I am teaching, and I already have next year planned! I am so glad I listened to the still prompting inside to finally get involved again! It's a "small" thing, compared to "Zeke's" calling to bring God's words to an entire nation, but I am glad I listened to the gentle, quiet prompting to get back in the trenches. These precious 3rd graders are dealing with stuff that, surprising to me, my years working with teens has prepared me for. I feel such peace knowing I'm doing what HE wants me to do.

Cheryl Barker said...

Love the thought about knowing that a God-follower is among them -- I want that to be true of my life, too. Also, love how you call Ezekiel "Zeke" :) Blessings to you this week, Jennifer!

Jennifer Dougan said...

Lisa,

Yes, isn't it wild and comforting how often God says "don't be afraid" to his follows?

Thanks for stopping by.

Jennifer
www.jenniferdougan.com

Jennifer Dougan said...

Michelle,

Making time to listen well can be hard, I agree. This reminds me too.

Jennifer
www.jenniferdougan.com

Jennifer Dougan said...

Rachel,

Any obedience to God is a big thing, and teaching third graders is wonderful! The ripple affect impact there is exciting too. Thanks for listening and telling him yes. :) Knowing you, I'm enthused to see you in ministry again too ;)

Jennifer
www.jenniferdougan.com

Jennifer Dougan said...

Cheryl,

Yes, the concept of being known as a God-follower delights and convicts me too, Cheryl. Lord, make it so about us...

Jennifer
www.jenniferdougan.com

Erika @ Slowly Natural said...

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http://slowlynatural.blogspot.com/2012/03/body-scrub-review-plus-giveaway.html

Matt said...

Wow. That will take some time to digest. And I guess I'll be reading Ezekiel again soon. Nice job.

Jennifer Dougan said...

Matt,

Yes, it is a deep book, and crazy wild too. I'm in chapter 9 currently. Thank you.

Good ponderings in your recent prayer post too. I have heard that some of the verses in the NT that we translate "deliver us from" are more accurately rendered "deliver us through." Fascinating, huh? I'll have to look up that reference...

Jennifer
www.jenniferdougan.com

AmyAlves said...

Evenin' Jennifer!
Another great post with God's word all through it! I do feel like God is calling me to something specific right now and He is equipping me. I'm also learning that I cannot do it without Him. Thanks for sharing with us girl! -Blessings, Amy