THE VISION OF JESUS: HEARING GOD’S VOICE
Fear is NOT your future. Jesus is!
Maybe your life feels shipwrecked by the circumstances you have lived through the last few years and fear has become your constant companion. NO MORE!
We will NOT be a fearful people we will be an expect people!
We are a resilient expectant people because our faith is in Jesus and Jesus is a reliable Lord and Savior of our futures. He has already gone before us and prepared the way for us.
We are going to meet Jesus in the Old Testament in the book of Ezekiel.
The name Ezekiel means, “God’s strength.”
We pray Ezekiel over our lives today, we pray “God’s strength be on our journey.
Ezekiel 1:1 says,
On July 31[a] of my thirtieth year,[b] while I was with the Judean exiles beside the Kebar River in Babylon, the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God. 2 This happened during the fifth year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity. 3 (The Lord gave this message to me, Ezekiel son of Buzi, a priest, there beside the Kebar River in the land of the Babylonians,[c] and I felt the hand of the Lord take hold of me.)
Ezekiel is talking to us. On July 31st of Ezekiel’s 30th year of life, which means this book dates back to July 31, 593 BC, that is 2616 years ago God gave this word to Ezekiel. 593 years before the birth of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.
He immediately tells us the context of his book. He is with the Judean exiles beside the Kebar River in Babylon. They are slaves in bondage in Babylon when God speaks to Him.
Now this book is book ended by Jeremiah the Prophet and Daniel’s visions.
God told Jeremiah in Jeremiah 29 before they went into bondage,
Jeremiah 29:11 says,
“Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. 6 Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. 7 But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.8 For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Do not let your prophets and your diviners who are among you deceive you, and do not listen to the dreams that they dream,[a] 9 for it is a lie that they are prophesying to you in my name; I did not send them, declares the Lord.
10 “For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare[b] and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.
So Jeremiah gives the frame work of what is getting ready to happen.
Ezekiel then lives within that 70 years and goes into captivity with the people of God.
Then after 70 years, God comes to Daniel and speaks to him in Babylon and reminds him no less than three times,
Daniel 9:1 says,
It was the first year of the reign of Darius the Mede, the son of Ahasuerus, who became king of the Babylonians.[a] 2 During the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, learned from reading the word of the Lord, as revealed to Jeremiah the prophet, that Jerusalem must lie desolate for seventy years.[b]3 So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and fasting. I also wore rough burlap and sprinkled myself with ashes.
4 I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed:
“O Lord, you are a great and awesome God! You always fulfill your covenant and keep your promises of unfailing love to those who love you and obey your commands. 5 But we have sinned and done wrong. We have rebelled against you and scorned your commands and regulations.6 We have refused to listen to your servants the prophets, who spoke on your authority to our kings and princes and ancestors and to all the people of the land.
7 “Lord, you are in the right; but as you see, our faces are covered with shame. This is true of all of us, including the people of Judah and Jerusalem and all Israel, scattered near and far, wherever you have driven us because of our disloyalty to you.
17 “O our God, hear your servant’s prayer! Listen as I plead. For your own sake, Lord, smile again on your desolate sanctuary.
God fulfills this request of Daniel through Ezra and Nehemiah and restores the fortunes of Israel.
This promise is still true today for you and me, if we confess our sins and return to Him. God wants to bless us. He does not want to curse us. He is the Lord of our future and He wants to bless our future. He wants to free us from our fears and breathe faith into our future.
So we see, the bookends of Jeremiah and Daniel. And now we do a deep dive into the muck of Babylon to see the faith of God’s people, a people who are resilient and expectant because the Lord, Yahweh, is the Lord of their future and will fulfill His promises to them.
Ezekiel 1:4 says,
As I looked, I saw a great storm coming toward me from the north, driving before it a huge cloud that flashed with lightning and shone with brilliant light. There was fire inside the cloud, and in the middle of the fire glowed something like gleaming amber.[d]
What a spectacular image.
5 From the center of the cloud came four living beings that looked human, 6 except that each had four faces and four wings. 7 Their legs were straight, and their feet had hooves like those of a calf and shone like burnished bronze. 8 Under each of their four wings I could see human hands. So each of the four beings had four faces and four wings. 9 The wings of each living being touched the wings of the beings beside it. Each one moved straight forward in any direction without turning around.
10 Each had a human face in the front, the face of a lion on the right side, the face of an ox on the left side, and the face of an eagle at the back. 11 Each had two pairs of outstretched wings—one pair stretched out to touch the wings of the living beings on either side of it, and the other pair covered its body. 12 They went in whatever direction the spirit chose, and they moved straight forward in any direction without turning around.
13 The living beings looked like bright coals of fire or brilliant torches, and lightning seemed to flash back and forth among them. 14 And the living beings darted to and fro like flashes of lightning.
15 As I looked at these beings, I saw four wheels touching the ground beside them, one wheel belonging to each. 16 The wheels sparkled as if made of beryl. All four wheels looked alike and were made the same; each wheel had a second wheel turning crosswise within it. 17 The beings could move in any of the four directions they faced, without turning as they moved. 18 The rims of the four wheels were tall and frightening, and they were covered with eyes all around.
19 When the living beings moved, the wheels moved with them. When they flew upward, the wheels went up, too. 20 The spirit of the living beings was in the wheels. So wherever the spirit went, the wheels and the living beings also went. 21 When the beings moved, the wheels moved. When the beings stopped, the wheels stopped. When the beings flew upward, the wheels rose up, for the spirit of the living beings was in the wheels.
22 Spread out above them was a surface like the sky, glittering like crystal.23 Beneath this surface the wings of each living being stretched out to touch the others’ wings, and each had two wings covering its body. 24 As they flew, their wings sounded to me like waves crashing against the shore or like the voice of the Almighty[e] or like the shouting of a mighty army. When they stopped, they let down their wings. 25 As they stood with wings lowered, a voice spoke from beyond the crystal surface above them.
WHOSE VOICE SPOKE FROM BEYOND THE CRYSTAL SURFACE ABOVE THEM? Let’s keep reading. Ezekiel is going to tell us.
26 Above this surface was something that looked like a throne made of blue lapis lazuli. And on this throne high above was a figure whose appearance resembled a man.
Ezekiel is giving us clues now. A voice, the figure whose appearance resembled a man…now he is going to describe his figure more specifically
27 From what appeared to be his waist up, he looked like gleaming amber, flickering like a fire. And from his waist down, he looked like a burning flame, shining with splendor. 28 All around him was a glowing halo, like a rainbow shining in the clouds on a rainy day. This is what the glory of the Lord looked like to me.
Ezekiel is saying, “I saw God.”
Let’s compare what Ezekiel saw with what John the Revelator saw in his vision.
Revelation 19:11 says,
Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. Its rider was named Faithful and True, for he judges fairly and wages a righteous war.12 His eyes were like flames of fire, and on his head were many crowns. A name was written on him that no one understood except himself. 13 He wore a robe dipped in blood, and his title was the Word of God.
These visions were over 700 years apart. They both saw Jesus!
Ezekiel 1:28 says,
When I saw it, I fell face down on the ground, and I heard someone’s voice speaking to me.
I LOVE what Ezekiel says here. He had NEVER heard God speak to him. And maybe you haven’t.
I want to invite you to do TWO THINGS TODAY to hear God speak to you in a vision or a dream:
- ASK JESUS TO VISIT YOU IN A DREAM OR VISION.
- ASK JESUS TO SPEAK DIRECTLY TO YOU IN YOUR REAL LIFE.
FEAR is NOT your future if your faith is in the Lord of your future and His name is? JESUS!
Jesus says in the Gospel of John…
John 10:27 says,
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me,
I invite you to give your life to Jesus today!
I invite you to invite Jesus to visit you in a dream or a vision.
I invite you to ask Jesus to speak directly to you in your real life today and when He does, believe it, and watch what He does in your life.
Invite Jesus into what you are struggling with today and He will make it clear to you through His voice.
Fear is NOT your future. God voice is! Receive it!
Pastor Kelly M. Williams