Ezekiel is living amongst the exiles by the River Kebar. The Kebar River was the Babylonian ‘grand canal’ and it was surrounded by plains. The kind of plains that see incredible storms by the sound of it.
Who knows if this vision of Ezekiel’s takes place during an actual storm or not. It appears to have been prompted by immense clouds and flashes of lightning and rumbling thunder.
Whatever it was, this was how Ezekiel described it –
This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. Ezekiel 1:28
He’s trying to put into words the glory of God. To paint a picture in words of what the glory of God looks like. Or looked like to him in that place on that day. This is not what God looks like. This is his personal glimpse of God’s glory.
Read his description for yourself in Ezekiel chapter 1. It’s pretty amazing. Fire and glowing metal and flashing lightning and burnished bronze. Burning coals of fire and torches. Four creatures – almost human in form – with four faces and four wings. And they all seemed to move without moving, turn without turning. They were everywhere all at the same time. And the sound of their wings was like the roar of rushing waters, like the voice of the Almighty, like the tumult of an army (v24).
The creatures sped back and forth like flashes of lightning. Ezekiel 1:14
And Ezekiel saw four intersecting wheels sparkling like topaz and covered in eyes. And they all seemed to move without moving, turn without turning. Totally awesome.
All moving as one – the creatures and wheels – all moving together guided by an invisible spirit like a flock of birds in the sky simultaneously turning this way and that.
Wherever the spirit would go, they would go. Ezekiel 1:20
And above the creatures and the wheels was a vault, sparkling like crystal and totally awesome. A figure of a man burning like fire and surrounded by brilliant light, seated on a throne of lapis lazuli.
Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. Ezekiel 1:28
It’s as if all of a sudden, Ezekiel’s eyes have been opened to the glory of God in a fresh way. He’s been hit but the enormity of who God is. And his response?
When I saw it, I fell face down… Ezekiel 1:28
Of course he did. What else could he do? That’s the natural response to such a realisation.
This is where it all starts. Where it all has to start. And start afresh every single day. With taking the time to really open our eyes to the glory of God. Which will bring us to our knees. And then we will be ready.
I love the imagery here. The radiance all around. The fire, the passion. The all-seeing, ever-present feel that’s conveyed. The constant movement, the energy. The extravagance of the precious stones. The glimpses of human but way, way beyond human. The awesomeness.
And then I love how it’s suddenly brought right back down to the everyday, the normal. This is just like the radiance of a rainbow, he says. This kind of vision may not be out thing, but a rainbow, a sunset, the spray of the waves crashing on the sea wall? Do they speak to you of God’s awesomeness? His glory is all around us all of the time.
God is moving among us all of the time. We can get glimpses of His glory anytime, anywhere.
These glimpses restore within us a right perspective. They build us up to trust and to obey. They prepare us to listen to what God has in store for us.
Just like Ezekiel.