What Is God Like? Rugged Determination – Ezekiel 1

“As I looked at the creatures, suddenly there was a wheel on the earth corresponding to all four faces of the creatures. The appearance and composition of the wheels were like sparkling topaz. There was one shape for all four of them, as if one wheel were inside another. When they moved in any of the four directions, they moved without swerving. Their rims were tall and terrifying, because all four of them were filled with eyes all around. When the creatures moved, the wheels moved next to them. Whenever the creatures rose above the earth, the wheels also rose up. Wherever the wind would appear to go, the wind would make them go there too. The wheels rose up beside them, because the spirit of the creatures was in the wheels. When they moved, the wheels moved; when they stood still, the wheels stood still; and when they rose above the earth, the wheels rose up along with them, because the spirit of the creatures was in the wheels” (Ezekiel 1:15-21, CEB).

What if God threw open the gates of heaven and let you see what He was doing. How would you describe it? The words or analogies you would use to describe it would be limited by your own personal experiences and understanding. Maybe you would use unusual descriptions of what you’re familiar with to describe what you’re not familiar with.

And, could you take it all in at once? Perhaps you would focus on a few aspects of the scene that stand out to you the most.

That’s what happened to the prophet Ezekiel when he got a glimpse of what God was doing. His description is rather perplexing. It almost seems like he’s describing a UFO sighting or a scene from a Star Wars movie with ancient terminology!

Ezekiel saw something that looked like a tornado or whirlwind moving closer to him. As the storm moved closer he was able to observe more precise details and features of what he saw.

Continue reading

The Crooked Path – Ecclesiastes 7:13-14

“Consider God’s work! Who can straighten what God has made crooked? When times are good, enjoy the good; when times are bad, consider: God has made the former as well as the latter so that people can’t discover anything that will come to be after them” (Ecclesiastes 7:13-14, CEB).

How great is God’s work in His Creation. God knows exactly how He has made us and what we need to live fulfilling lives.

These verses notify us that although God is sovereign, our lives aren’t predetermined. Good times and bad times are both part of life. They make life a crooked path.

Continue reading

The Wrestling Match – Genesis 32:27-31

“He said to Jacob, ‘What’s your name?’ and he said, ‘Jacob.’ Then he said, ‘Your name won’t be Jacob any longer, but Israel, because you struggled with God and with men and won.’ Jacob also asked and said, ‘Tell me your name.’ But he said, ‘Why do you ask for my name?’ and he blessed Jacob there. Jacob named the place Peniel, ‘because I’ve seen God face-to-face, and my life has been saved.’ The sun rose as Jacob passed Penuel, limping because of his thigh” (Genesis 32:27-31,CEB).

I once heard it preached that choosing to believe Jesus was the Son of God and died for our sins so we could have eternal life was more plausible than choosing not to believe.  Because, if you believed and got to the end of your life and it wasn’t true, you still lived a good life with no regrets. But, if you didn’t believe and it was true then you risked a dreadful eternity.

In other words, it is more logical (and eternally safe) to believe in God than not to believe. And, we get to choose…

While our modern minds try to analyze everything, even faith in God, and make it logical and rational and human-centric, the biblical pattern is actually something quite different: God chooses us and we choose whether to accept His challenge or not.

And, it’s not like a debate.

It’s more like a wrestling match!

In fact, struggling with God is the normal Christian life.

Continue reading

Casting Crowns – Revelation 4:9-11

Casting Crowns“The twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” (Revelation 4:9-11, ESV).

The twenty-four elders may represent the orders of priests serving in the Old Testament temple or they may symbolize the unity of God’s people as encompassing the twelve tribes of Old Testament Israel and the twelve apostles of the New Testament church–like the new Jerusalem’s twelve gates and twelve foundations in Revelation 21. Their thrones resemble those of God’s heavenly court in Daniel 7.

Continue reading

Hold On! Part 2 – Hebrews 12:28-29

HoldOn“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us hold on to grace. By it, we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:28-29, HCSB).

In Part 1 of this meditation on grace, we saw how the Hebrews writer assembled an argument showing that God’s grace demonstrated to us through Christ is superior to the Old Testament law and temple worship because Christ was its culmination.

So, the new covenant is superior to the old because now we enter into God’s presence through a relationship or covenant based on receiving His grace through Christ (what the Hebrews writer called approaching Mt. Zion), not on adherence to the law (what the Hebrews writer called approaching Mt. Sinai).

When we receive God’s grace through believing in Christ as our Savior, we must hold on to it! And then, the grace of God becomes the source of our strength for serving God and His Kingdom.

Continue reading

Resident Evil – 2 Kings 14:23-27

resident-evil-logo“Jeroboam II, the son of Jehoash, began to rule over Israel in the fifteenth year of King Amaziah’s reign in Judah. Jeroboam reigned in Samaria forty-one years. He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight…Jeroboam II recovered the territories of Israel between Lebo-hamath and the Dead Sea, just as the Lord, the God of Israel, had promised through Jonah son of Amittai, the prophet from Gath-hepher. For the Lord saw the bitter suffering of everyone in Israel, and that there was no one in Israel, slave or free, to help them. And because the Lord had not said he would blot out the name of Israel completely, he used Jeroboam II, the son of Jehoash, to save them.” (Kings 14:23-27, NLT).

Jeroboam II ruled over the northern kingdom of Israel from 793 – 753 BC. He perpetuated the apostate religion established by Jeroboam I, the first king of Israel.

Continue reading

Eyes Wide Open – Isaiah 26:12-13

Eyes-Wide-Open“Lord, you will grant us peace; all we have accomplished is really from you. O Lord our God, others have ruled us, but you alone are the one we worship” (Isaiah 26:12-13, NLT).

Ultimate control and supreme authority over the universe emanate from the throne room of God, the unseen Kingdom of Heaven where God resides and rules over the universe.

Continue reading