THINK: Some people dream of attaining glory. But what does that mean-"glory"? True glory is something no human can even comprehend, let alone achieve, because it belongs only to God. Ezekiel's extraordinary visions contained images unlike anything on earth. They accentuated the fact that words cannot adequately describe God's glory, which is so supernaturally intense that no human can experience it firsthand and survive. At best, one can see only an "appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD" (1:28). And yet, we don't need a vision like Ezekiel had. We can relate to our glorious God through a personal encounter with His Son, Jesus Christ (cf. John 1:14), through the Holy Spirit (1 Peter 4:14) and through God's Word (2 Corinthians 3:7-11).
RESPOND: To whom was Ezekiel called to communicate God's message? (See 1:1 note.) What were the main objectives of Ezekiel's mission? (See 1:3 note.) What did God reveal about His character through Ezekiel's visions? (See 1:4 note.) What were the creatures Ezekiel saw, and what did they represent? (See 1:5 note.) Whom did the cherubim precisely follow (1:12,20)? (See 1:12 note.) What do the burning coals represent (1:13), and in what two ways does God's fire function? (See 1:13 note.) What do the wheels beneath God's throne indicate about His activity? (See 1:15-25 note.) What does the imagery of Ezekiel's visions reveal about God? In what form did Ezekiel see God (1:26-28), and why is this significant? (See 1:26 note.) What does 1:28 indicate about the primary purpose of Ezekiel's vision, and why did God reveal himself in this way? (See 1:28 note, subpoint 1.) Why does God call Ezekiel "son of man," and how is this a reminder to us? (See 2:1 note.) By Whom was Ezekiel empowered to proclaim God's message? (See 2:2 note.) What kinds of messengers does God use (2:5-8)? (See 2:5 note.)
PRAY: Praise God for His great glory. Thank the Holy Spirit for His guidance and power. Pray that you'll remain dependent on God and that you'll be bold in standing for His truth.
ACT: Do all things for God's honor and glory, not your own. In attitudes, words and actions, aim to draw attention to God, not yourself. If you've hesitated to do something you know God desires, rely on Him for boldness to obey.
THINK: You've probably heard that God has a wonderful plan for you, and it's certainly true that nothing can satisfy the desire for significance like God's goals for your life. But fulfilling God's purposes isn't always pleasant. In a world of people who defy God and go their own way, following Jesus and standing for His truth will often put you at odds with the culture, bringing opposition and persecution from those with no desire to listen to the Lord. And yet, God gives you the privilege and responsibility of bringing hope to a wayward world. While the message sometimes takes the form of a firm warning, God's intense love for spiritually lost people should compel us not to compromise, but to boldly deliver the good news of forgiveness and eternal life through faith in Jesus-before it's too late.
RESPOND: Why did Ezekiel eat the scroll, and what did this act symbolize? (See 3:1 note.) Why was the scroll sweet, even though it's message was full of bitterness and grief? (See 3:3 note.) Why did God tell Ezekiel to deliver the message, even though the Lord knew that people wouldn't listen, and how did God encourage Ezekiel (3:7- 9)? (See 3:7 note.) According to 3:14-15, how did Ezekiel feel as he went with God's message, and why? (See 3:14 note.) Why do you think Ezekiel was overwhelmed as he sat among his people (3:15)? What did it mean that God made Ezekiel a watchman (3:17), and why was this such a serious responsibility? (See 3:18 note.) How does this responsibility apply today? How is 3:20 a warning to those who know God? (See 3:20 note.) Why do you think Ezekiel responded to God's glory as he did in 3:23? Why did God forbid Ezekiel to speak, and what did this say about the people's spiritual condition? (See 3:26 note.) What was significant about the number of days Ezekiel laid on his side? (See 4:5 note.) What was the purpose of the plain, limited food Ezekiel ate during this time? (See 4:9-11 note.)
PRAY: Give thanks for the privilege of delivering God's message. Pray for strength to serve Him and stand for His truth when opposition is intense. Ask God to give you His heart of compassion for people who don't know Him.
ACT: Look around at the people in your school, work or community. Allow God to overwhelm you with a sense of compassion and urgency to reach them with His message of hope while there is still time. Then don't be afraid to get into conversations about Christ as you rely on Him to give you opportunities to speak up.