Don't you just love it when God shows you something in His Word that you've never noticed before?!
I love the first few chapters of Ezekiel. I have read them more times than I could possibly count because I love the glimpse we get of God's throne room, but I saw something yesterday that I had never noticed before.
In the very first verse of the book of Ezekiel, he tell us that he "saw visions of God;" so, we know what's coming. But it never occurred to me that Ezekiel did not! That perhaps he had NO IDEA what was coming when he saw the approaching storm. A storm unmatched in power and intensity. A storm unlike any storm Ezekiel had ever witnessed in his life. And how long did it take this storm to approach? How long did Ezekiel have to stand there, waiting to see if this storm was going to take him out? When he saw a windstorm coming out of the north, an immense cloud with flashing lightning that was surrounded by brilliant light and looked to have a center of fire, I can only imagine the fear this might have struck initially. I imagine it was only as this immense cloud drew nearer that Ezekiel was able to see that "in the fire was what looked like four living creatures" (v. 5). I can just see him standing there, head down against the wind, eyes straining to see what's inside this massive cloud that has lightning bolts coming out all over the place and a center of fire--what in heaven's name?! I imagine he stood in a trance-like state, feet frozen to the ground, too afraid and intrigued to move a muscle. Then he sees what looks like creatures in the middle of the fire! Can you imagine the intensity of this moment? I think I would have fallen down as if dead right then, but Ezekiel holds out much longer.
He, in a God-given moment of strength and courage, stands through the storm, getting glimpses of heaven on earth, really! He sees four living creatures that carry God's throne room wherever He wants to go, an awesome glassy expanse that separates the creatures from the rainbow-like radiance above their heads, and then he sees the One whose very presence creates the brilliant and beautiful radiance seated on His throne and glowing like fire. Here's how he describes what he saw:
"...On the throne was a figure like that of a man. I saw that from what appeared to be his waist up he looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and that from there down he looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded him. Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him" (v. 26-28).
And it was at this moment that Ezekiel fell face-down. He was so overwhelmed by the One seated on the throne that he likely would have lain there for all eternity if the Spirit of the Lord had not come into him and lifted him to his feet (2:1).
And it occurred to me that perhaps I might fall too soon. What about you? Are you like me? When you see an impending storm, awesome and overwhelming, is your tendency to fall down and cover your head in fear. Are your eyes on the storm? Or are your eyes on the One that brings the storm? Are you willing to stand firm through the storm because you believe that God has brought it specifically for the purpose of making you into a stronger person and revealing His glory? Are you willing to let the wind and rain slap you in the face while you risk being a lightning rod just so you can get a glimpse of God's awesome glory right in the middle of the pain and fear?
Do you fall at the sight of the storm or at the sight of the One that brings the storm? My prayer now is that when I see an approaching storm, I will be able to stand until I see a vision of His glory; because no matter how awesome the storm may seem, I know my God is AWESOMER! (And I don't care if that's not a word.) If He brings me to it, He'll bring me through it.