Dear Cornerstone brothers and sisters,
This is the day the Lord has made, may we rejoice and be glad in it. The Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 5:1 that, “having been justified by faith we have peace with God.” Peace with God! No longer are we at enmity with God; but now we are at peace with God. That is cause to rejoice! Though our life may be anything but peaceful in the regular affairs of the day; for the Christian, ultimately, peace reigns. Peace permeates our hearts because Christ rules in our hearts. May you know that peace with God today.
Our Fall Theology Conference with Dr. David Murray is this Friday. Register here: www.csopc.org/conference.
This week’s devotion is a reflection from Ezekiel on the glory of God.
From the Pastor’s Desk
“On Our Faces”
Ezekiel 1:28b, “Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of one speaking.”
The book of Ezekiel opens with a magnificent vision of God. As the prophet says, “In the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month, as I was among the exiles by the Chebar canal, the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God” (v. 1). And what follows in chapter 1 is a stunning description of the glory of God (vv. 4-28). Of course, the Bible tells us that no one sees God in the glory of his essence; so what Ezekiel saw was a vision of God’s glory (much like Isaiah in Isaiah 6). In fact, as you read through chapter 1, it is striking how often Ezekiel uses the phrase ‘likeness’ or ‘like’ (the term is used roughly 18 times in chapter 1). For example, “And from the midst of it came the likeness of four living creatures … Over the heads of the living creatures there was the likeness of an expanse (vv. 5, 22). The reader gets the impression that Ezekiel is straining and grasping for language to describe the magnificence of the vision he saw.
But what I want to note in this devotion is Ezekiel’s response to this vision. Verse 28b, “Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of one speaking.” Ezekiel falls on his face – he cannot stand in the presence of God’s glory and majesty (also see Isaiah 6:1-7; Luke 5:1-11; Rev 19:9-10). The proper response of sinful creatures to the presence of our holy creator is humble worship and reverence.
Now how does this connect to our walk with and conception of Jesus Christ? John 1:14 tells us, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only son from the father, full of grace and truth.” Jesus Christ is God in the flesh. Note the phrase, ‘and we have seen his glory.’ The glory of God is present and manifest in the person of his son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Thus brothers and sisters, the question that you must wrestle with is simply this: how do you view Jesus? Is he merely your friend who helps you along the way? Is he merely your guide in life that gives you good advice? Or is he your Lord, Master, and King? Yes, Christ is a friend of sinners, full of grace, mercy, and compassion; but also he is the conquering King and Lion who will devour all his enemies. There is a sense in which we should live each day on our faces in humble worship of our King who gave himself for us!
One final thought along these lines applies to our worship. When we gather to worship on the Lord’s Day, we are summoned into the very presence of God! Therefore, should not something of Ezekiel’s response to the presence of God be manifest as we gather in the presence of God! In other words, should not humble reverence mark the worship of the saints! As the author Hebrews puts it, “Let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire” (12:28b-29). May we all have a proper and Biblical view of our Savior – the conquering lion and redeeming lamb.