In one of their issues, the magazine Psychology Today published a list of the five ways that we should deliver bad news to another person. And the five steps went this way:
1) Tell at least part of the truth if you think the person can handle hearing it.
2) Sugar-coat the news if you don't think the person can handle the truth.
3) If the bad news involves a potential threat to their self-esteem, help that person save face, develop some kind of cover story to preserve their reputation and try to help them avoid embarrassment.
4) Take your time, prepare the message carefully, choose your words carefully, go at it in the right moment, pick the right time and then finally,
5) Rely on others to help you deliver the message, always come as a team, it's a more effective way to deliver the bad news.
The article says, if you do it this way, then you're going to be far more likely to deliver the bad news in a successful manner, one that strays as little as possible from a certain “politeness theory”.
But there was a man, a priest from Judah who lived long ago in the nation of Israel, and the Lord called that man to deliver some very bad news to the nation of Israel. Unfortunately, this particular man had never read Psychology Today because in the way he delivered the bad news to Israel, he goes about it in violation of all five of those rules. He delivered the bad news according to the wisdom of God, as opposed to the "wisdom" of men.
For example, he held back nothing. None of the terrible news, none of the details, none of the facts. He sugar-coated nothing. He gave all of the details of what went wrong in the nation of Israel and what God was prepared to do in consequence. He cared nothing for Israel’s self-esteem. Quite the opposite - he targeted their pride with what he said. He called them out for their apostasy, and he refused to let them hide behind their excuses. And, oh yes, he did choose his words carefully. He chose them for maximum impact as opposed to softness. He spoke in graphic and even vulgar terms, as we'll see, and he did so because he was trying to awaken this nation to its own depravity. He sought to offend Israel. Just as they had offended their God. And then finally, he stood alone. Virtually alone in his accusations, he lived at a time in which multiple prophets were operating in Israel in general. But he himself worked alone. He was rejected by his own people as a result of his ministry. They responded to his declarations with cynicism, not repentance. In fact, history does not even record this man's birth or his death, or even if he had any children. We know virtually nothing about his personal life. There is no record of him outside of his own book.
This prophet, his name was Ezekiel. His name means “strengthened by God” and that's likely because he had to be in order to accomplish the mission he was given. Ezekiel’s called a major prophet of the Old Testament. And he was called by God in Judah in the days around the Babylonian captivity. This man is unique in Scripture, he’s even enigmatic. God asked things of him that he asked of no other prophet. You're going to see that he had done some things that almost defy explanation, that seemed quite bizarre. But he also received rare and marvelous visions unequalled by any other prophet.
He was told to explain to Judah the reasons for why God was bringing harsh judgment against the people and he delivered that message exactly as the Lord required. He didn't mince words. He didn't soften the blow. He certainly didn't worry about hurting anybody's feelings. God told Ezekiel to arrest a disobedient Israel with dramatic words of judgment so that they would be without excuse.
But in the midst of all this bad news, God also gave Ezekiel a message of hope, a glimmer of hope for the future because he gave Ezekiel this stunning preview of the glory that God has prepared for the nation in the coming kingdom that one day they're going to return, and one day they'll be re-gathered, and one day, they'll receive the promises of God. They'll see a renewed temple. It'll be filled with the glory of God. And even though they had been unfaithful to their covenant promises to God, He would remain faithful to His side of the bargain.
And so, as we study this book together, we're going to learn a number of things. We're going to learn some history. You have to understand the times in which it was written. We're going to learn about the covenant, which are the reasons for why God acts as he does. We're going to learn about sin. We're going to learn about judgment. But above all these things, what this book is here to teach us is about the glory of God and about the power of God's promises found in His Word.
Ezekiel, more than any other Old Testament work, emphasizes the glory of God. In fact, the phrase “that they will know that I am Lord” appears over 60 times in this book.
“That they will know that I am the Lord”.
Which reminds us that the Lord chooses to reveal Himself to us, to reveal His purposes in our life so that He would receive glory for who He is and what He does.
But when God's people turn from Him into idolatry and into other kinds of sin, we spurn that revelation. We break fellowship. We do not acknowledge His glory.
Thomas Constable said it this way, he said God used the events of Ezekiel’s life to teach His people and all people, that He is the only true God. And in the future, He will bring things to pass that will teach people that only He is God.
And we can learn that even now, as we gain God's viewpoint on life from this great book, that we can help others make sense of what's happening because we can understand the one who is creating the history.
So, Ezekiel’s the classical Testament text that records God's faithfulness to His word concerning Israel. He fulfills a lot of His promises in the course of what we read in Ezekiel. He fulfills His promises to judge Israel for their sin. But then He reiterates his blessings to them in a future time of glory. And He promises ultimately to them in Ezekiel that we'll move out of this cycle of sin, judgment and restoration. He'll get done with that cycle ultimately, because He's going to bring a new and better covenant, one that will put an end to the cycle.
We know that the new covenant is expressed in the Old Testament. Traditionally we refer to Jeremiah 31:31. That actually is where it's named, but Ezekiel who was a contemporary with Jeremiah also tells us about this new covenant. So now what about us? We're not Israel. What do we have to look forward to in this book?
Well, there's a lot to be excited about because the prophecies that have existed in this book - going on now 2500 years since it was written - they are coming to pass today before our very eyes. We're literally living in the days that Ezekiel prophesied about because some of the prophecies include the regathering of Israel, which we see now happening, and others - some of them have already happened. But the most dramatic and mysterious visions that Ezekiel received – they are yet to happen, but soon-to-be reality.
So, let's dive into the opening chapters. We're going to go in softly and then dive a much deeper section next time. Now, let's get going to understand how we come into the book and where it begins. Starting at the beginning:
Ezekiel 1:1 Now it came about in the thirtieth year, on the fifth day of the fourth month, while I was by the river Chebar among the exiles, the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God.
Ezekiel 1:2 (On the fifth of the month in the fifth year of King Jehoiachin’s exile,
Ezekiel 1:3 the word of the Lord came expressly to Ezekiel the priest, son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and there the hand of the Lord came upon him.)
This is our introduction. The book begins with a little bit of geography and chronology, and that's one of the distinctives of Ezekiel’s narrative. His book is known for its precise time and historical references and it is a collection of prophecies. If you want to get a big picture of what you're about to dive into, this is a book of a series of prophecies - one after another, they're presented in chronological order. That is to say, as he received them, Ezekiel wrote them down. So as they flow through the book, it's also chronologically the same order that he received them.
There's a total of fourteen of these prophesies in this book. He received them over about twenty years while he was in exile with the rest of Judah. The southern kingdom of Judah at this point had been taken out of their land and brought to Babylon in captivity by Nebuchadnezzar by the nation of Babylon. And Ezekiel’s one of those who went with the people and he's sitting in Babylon, and he begins to receive these visions from God.
And as he gets each of the fourteen, he dates them. He dates them so precisely you can tell exactly on the calendar which day he was talking about in each case. The first of those 14 runs from Chapter one to Chapter three. And according to the day you just gave in Verse 1, this is July 31st, 593BC. That’s July 31st on the modern calendar. He speaks here in terms of the Jewish calendar but that's what it would be for us. He says it happens during the reign of King Jehoiakim, who was living also in captivity. He was taken into Babylon the same year that Ezekiel was, which would have been 597 BC.
So Ezekiel’s been in captivity now four years by the time he gets his first vision. And the year that we start with here, 593, is the base year for all of his prophecies. So from this point forward, he'll refer back to this year as the baseline Zero. So we started 593 by the River Chebar in the midst of the exiles of Judah. The Jews were taken into slavery by Nebuchadnezzar and he settles them along this place called the Chebar River. It's not really a river at all. It was a man-made channel. They had built this channel off the River Euphrates that moved water out of the River Euphrates eastward around the east side of the city of Babylon, and they did it principally to feed water to the Jewish slaves who were settled on that side of the city.
So they lived in a community there. They called the community Tel Aviv, which means “old spring”. Those two words together communicate something old and something new. Spring is a euphemism for new, and so they called this an old new. Something old, that is the people of Israel living in a new place Tel Aviv, and that channel Chebar was bringing water to them and the Jews living here had a surprisingly comfortable existence.
For us, when we hear that someone's been taken bondage into slavery, we immediately make an assumption about what life must have been like for them. And certainly, they're not as happy as they were when they were back home in Jerusalem because they've been taken out of their homes, some of them were killed, others were treated very badly. It was a bad time. But once they were settled, the goal was not to make Israel miserable, the goal was to take them out of their land so that that land could be conquered by Babylon.
And so what Babylon did was they gave the Jews a place to live. They were allowed to own their own homes. They were allowed to own their own businesses. They could travel freely within Babylon. They were free to worship, as they chose to in their little space. In fact, life became so comfortable for them in that place that 70 years later, when there's a new king, when the Persians have conquered the Babylonians and that new king in Persia, Cyrus, tells Israel the Lord has told him they're free to go back to Israel now, not many of them went. Most of them chose to stay right where they were. And that tells you something about how comfortable life became for the Jews in captivity.
Ezekiel was not one of the Jews responsible for the judgment that put them in Babylon and yet he was caught up in it. And though some of the nation were faithful to God, like Ezekiel, they were all subject to the judgment. God didn't selectively imprison or enslave just the bad people in Israel. He took the whole nation. Because the basis for the captivity was the old covenant’s promises. And in the old covenant, God said to the nation of Israel that unless they keep His law perfectly, they as a nation will be subject to certain consequences.
The terms of that deal of the old covenant were “national” in their focus. It was not an individual covenant. Not every Jew had to agree to it. When the nation agreed to it, the whole nation was bound to it. When we're born into a nation, we find ourselves under the laws of that nation. Regardless of whether you and I individually decided we liked each and every one of those laws, you get them all. That's just part of the deal.
Similarly, when you were entering into the nation of Israel by birth, you became part of a covenant, whether you wanted it or not. But the covenant had strict terms, and the terms said that if you did not keep it, there would be a consequence, and one of the consequences is this captivity. Moving the people outside the land, as God said He would do.
But here you have Ezekiel, a faithful follower of Yahweh. Still, though, he's in captivity, living among the exiles. And then he adds that this prophecy came in the 30th year, which is a reference to his own age. He says he was 30 years old when he got this vision. Why do you think he’d mentioned that?
Notice what it says in verse 3 when he says he was a priest. Now, in the nation of Israel, there’s a time in the man’s life when he was eligible to start acting in temple service, to go do the very thing priests are supposed to do. When were you allowed to begin service in the temple as a priest? Age 30. So Ezekiel says he’s 30 years old now. How long has he been in captivity? Four years, and the year is 593 BC. He was captive in 597 BC. Four years later, in 593 BC, he’s 30. That means he was taken when he was 26. So knowing he turned 30 while he was in captivity, we can then also say he never had the chance to serve as a priest in the temple. And now the Lord is calling him at age 30 into a form of service as a prophet, not as a priest.
So here's what we know about Ezekiel already. This is a man who spent all his early adult life preparing to serve God in performing sacrificial rituals in a temple service, and priestly preparation was a demanding thing. There were years of preparation for anyone who was designated to become a priest, and no doubt knowing Ezekiel, he dedicated himself to that hard work. But just as the time approached for his service, suddenly this guy finds himself dragged off to a foreign land. At the same time, the temple is ultimately destroyed, which puts an end to his entire career. His opportunity for service as a priest is seemingly stolen from him, right on the eve of being able to do everything he's been preparing for.
But in reality, what we find is the Lord had been preparing him, but He was preparing him for a very different kind of service and a greater one, in fact, than the one he was expecting. And Ezekiel’s predicament is a reminder that God has set each of us on some kind of course of preparation and that course of preparation, whatever it looks like in your life, it certainly suggests a certain role that you're supposed to go serve God in. And yet, when the day comes, you need to be prepared for the possibility that the Lord may direct you in some completely new and even better way of service. But yet one you did not see coming, one you did not expect to follow from your preparation. And if you think like that, then you'll be prepared to serve God properly in that call, because you're open to detours in your life. And likewise, on the flip side, you'll be more likely to receive that person who comes to you in service but doesn't look the part. Doesn't have the pedigree, not the one you would’ve expected.
Jesus calls unqualified people to serve him, but he doesn't leave them untrained. He uses all your experiences to prepare you for serving Him, and when He puts that training to work, eventually He may do it in a very surprising way. A servant may be trained in farming or in business or in some trade of one kind or another, and then when the day comes, the Lord may take that training and put that service into work of a ministry that's totally different than what the person trained for.
History would tell us this is God's pattern because you can look through history and find many good servants of God who gained their start in ministry in some unorthodox way, like a good shepherd who's never been trained as a pastor, or good Bible teacher who never attended seminary. Even the apostles - the guys that Jesus chose originally - they were never trained to be religious leaders. They had no respect among the religious leaders of their day. But God picked them to found the Church. To what degree does fishing help you prepare to lead a Church? Or tax collecting? Actually, a lot. There's a lot of life lessons in one world that transfers very well into the next. So Ezekiel spent time preparing to be a priest, and he might have wondered if that was wasted time, since he's going to spend his whole life in exile where there's no temple.
But as it turns out his priestly training became critical to his role as a prophet. There's a reason why there's only a few men in all of the history of Scripture who were prophets and priests. He's one of them, because many of the visions that he will give us in this book concerned priestly matters and, namely, his most famous, is his prophecy concerning the temple in the Kingdom - this idea that God brings back a temple in the time of the 1000-year reign, which just blows our mind because we've learned from Hebrews, for example, that there's no need for sacrifice any longer. And yet there is sacrifice in the Kingdom, which when we get there, we'll understand it better.
But for now, you can see how knowing something about that process about that world might help you if your prophecies are going to concern those things. So remember Ezekiel’s career shift as you consider how God's calling you to serve. You may be trained as an accountant or a soldier or a teacher, or a nurse or an athlete or even a pastor, but God may take that preparation and call you to use it in some new and surprising way. God flips people all the time, probably because we do better service when we're not depending on our own skills and ability, when we're a little outside our comfort zone. So, expect Him to do the unexpected. Remain open to the Spirit’s leading, but then be ready because you have to obey that call. And if you're relying on stereotypes or if you have your five-year plan and you're into Year 2, and you really hate to change it, well, then you're not going to be ready to accept the work that God sends you when the time comes because you're too busy working your own plan.
So now we're going to turn to the opening description of Ezekiel’s first vision. We're not going to go very deep in this for now. Verse 4, in a vision of the first prophecy:
Ezekiel. 1:4 As I looked, behold, a storm wind was coming from the north, a great cloud with fire flashing forth continually and a bright light around it, and in its midst something like glowing metal in the midst of the fire.
This entire scene is reminiscent of another scene from another prophet, in Isaiah Chapter 6, where Isaiah sees the Lord seated on the throne. And then we have a song that uses some of the early verses from that chapter and exalted on His throne. And then he talks to the Lord and he gets his commission. And there's a very strong similarity between what God is going to tell Ezekiel in this book and what he tells Isaiah in his own book. Key among them is He warns both prophets, “I'm going to call you to go talk to a bunch of people who aren't going to listen to you.” Which would lead us to ask the next question. “Why do I do this thing?” Which is a reminder that sometimes, many times, God's purpose is bigger than those who hear the message the first time. It's the idea of planting and sowing. Not everything you do is going to result in the ultimate outcome, but it's going somewhere. Just be faithful.
Coming back to Ezekiel’s vision. Now, his visions are generally mysterious and they have even disturbing images that'll make interpretation difficult at times. So interpreting what he says, gaining a full understanding of its actual meaning, will require a careful adherence to the rules of biblical interpretation. We call those rules hermeneutics. We’ll see the workings of it as we move through the text, that is, as we see how we're arriving at what we're learning, we’ll see the rules on display in that way. And, in particular, when you're dealing with this kind of text, symbolic language in visions that are mysterious and so on, it's very important to distinguish between literal detail and symbolic meaning of that detail. And then applying Scripture properly from other places is the key to maintain a consistent and understanding of the symbols.
Let's just start with Verse 4. We'll just observe some of the details. First you’ve got a storm blowing from the north, and it brings this great cloud, and the cloud is filled with lightning. Start there. Now you and I think about this in our head. We think, this is just already completely outside our understanding.
But the truth is, for someone who's living in Babylon, this is not an uncommon image. This is a very common image. This would have seemed very normal, at least as it starts, because in the Middle East desert they commonly experience storms, sandstorms or dust storms that will fit the general description of this vision, at least to a point.
The storms will rise up suddenly, they move across the land like this great shadow of dust. Now, if you Google “dust storm” or “sandstorm”, you’ll get some of these pictures and if you look at these pictures, they don't even look real. They look photoshopped. It's a phenomenon that relies on static electricity to help lift some of the particles. It's like a living thing moving across the land and they rise up suddenly and they come like a freight train and they just blow across, destroying things and covering everything in sand. And because of the static electricity built up inside these things, they generate huge amounts of lightning. Lightning is sort of a constant feature, but you don't see it very well when it's dust. But it's in there and you can see it sometimes.
So the Lord gives Ezekiel what is actually a very familiar image for someone living in that region. But at that point, of course, the details start to go a different direction, and it starts to depart from the normal. Because, for example, naturally sandstorm clouds are shrouded in darkness. They obscure the sun. You don't get any light. But here, it says, the storm had a bright light surrounding it. So that's our first detail – that it’s not natural. Furthermore, duststorms are monolithic. They're just sand. There's nothing else in them, but in the center of this storm, there is something different. It's glowing like metal, Ezekiel says.
So this starts now the process of some interpretation. We're sitting here wondering what he's trying to tell us. And you think, well, if I just go further, he'll explain it. But not entirely. Not in this case. He goes into some new things right away.
And so we have to stop at this point and gain a general understanding of what's the point of this vision.
Now, the understanding of some of these symbols is actually accessible to us because of other Scripture.
For example, clouds or storms of lightning. In the Bible, that’s a symbol that’s used very consistently - that as of lightning and clouds and storms - there's a certain thing it's always representing in Scripture. And they are details commonly associated with the appearance of the glory of God.
For example, the camp of Israel when they assembled at the mountain and Moses goes up the mountain. What's covering the top of the mountain? A big cloud, dark in that case, filled with lightning.
Then you have Elijah when he's carried up by a whirlwind, which is another word for this kind of storm.
Or John, who saw the burning fire and lightning around the throne in Revelation.
There are many other examples, but this is a consistent pattern of God demonstrating His glory in some physical way. It's not the glory of God. It's a manifestation, a representation of the glory of God.
And then you have the glowing metal inside this cloud. Well glowing metal like it's in a furnace is another picture that's very consistent in Scripture. It's always a picture of God's judgement. In particular, glowing bronze in a furnace is the specific, most common picture of judgment - God's judgment fire.
So you have a representation of God's glory, holding within it God's judgment.
And then it says “from the North”, and that detail would have been especially significant to the exiles in Babylon, because it was from the north that the Babylonian army rolled into town like a big storm and took over the nation of Judah, took them captive and brought them back into Babylon. And for that matter, a few centuries earlier, Assyria came from the north as well and did something very similar to the Northern Kingdom.
So when you take these three details together, you hear a message. You see a message that's actually very easy to see, that is, God communicating through Ezekiel that Babylon was an instrument in God's hands to bring about the judgment that God promised according to His covenant.
God is reminding Israel, “You're not here because of the vagaries of international politics. You're not here because of the shifting powers of the world battling, and you're just collateral damage, you’re just here by happenstance. No, no, you're here because I put you here. And don't mistake the fact that I did it. They're just my instrument. But in the end, it was Me who brought you here.”
Isaiah told the people of Israel a few centuries earlier that this is exactly what would happen. In Isaiah 13:1, this is what Isaiah told these people earlier:
Isaiah 13:1 The oracle concerning Babylon which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw.
Isaiah 13:2 Lift up a standard on the bare hill, Raise your voice to them, Wave the hand that they may enter the doors of the nobles.
Isaiah 13:3 I have commanded My consecrated ones, I have even called My mighty warriors, My proudly exulting ones, To execute My anger.
He's describing Babylon. He's saying to Israel in a sarcastic voice. Stand up, raise your voice. Flag him in like a guy who's leading an aircraft down the runway, he tells Israel. Get up on the walls and raise your flags, call them on in their coming and they're coming to execute my anger against you. My consecrated ones, my mighty warriors, he's talking about Babylon.
So Israel was on notice from centuries earlier. And yet they did not repent. They did not seek to be obedient. They continued in sin and apostasy. And so now where are they? They're sitting in exile by a channel made by their captors. But now having been in captivity for several years, the temple, the house of the glory of God, has now been robbed. The priesthood has been decimated. The people are scattered, they are in slavery. The Kingdom has basically ceased to exist, and they had little hope of going home, at least at this early point. And they're disillusioned. And Nebuchadnezzar is going to go back to Jerusalem for a third time, and he's going to absolutely reduce the temple to rubble.
And we have to suspect that some of them, if not all of them, were wondering, “Why are we here? What happened? How did we get here? What went wrong?” They're saying, “Does God only dwell in Judah? Now that we're outside the land, are we without a God?” Because that's never happened before. “Are we without a God now? And even if we could return to God, how do we return to them without a temple where we're supposed to make the sacrifices that are required under the law? How do we worship him anymore? And does this captivity mean that the promises He gave to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob have just come to an end? Has He forsaken us?”
The answer should have been obvious if they just read their own Scripture. To answer those questions, the Lord brings Ezekiel visions, and the first vision He brings him is an explanation for their personal circumstances for why they are where they are now. He has a lot more to say and His message will center on Himself, on His sovereignty, His omniscience, His glory, because that's His first priority.
But He has to explain to them from the outset, “Why are you here, Israel?”
Let’s just run down briefly a few Scriptures that would explain why they're sitting in Babylon in 593 BC. In Deuteronomy 28:15, through Moses, this is what the people heard:
Deut. 28:15 “But it shall come about, if you do not obey the
Lord your God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes with
which I charge you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake
And then following that verse, we jump further into the chapter. Here are some of the curses, see if you recognize these,
Deut. 28:25 “The Lord shall cause you to be defeated before your enemies; you will go out one way against them, but you will flee seven ways before them, and you will be an example of terror to all the kingdoms of the earth.
Deut. 28:30 “You shall betroth a wife, but another man will violate her; you shall build a house, but you will not live in it; you shall plant a vineyard, but you will not use its fruit.
Deut. 28:31 “Your ox shall be slaughtered before your eyes, but you will not eat of it; your donkey shall be torn away from you, and will not be restored to you; your sheep shall be given to your enemies, and you will have none to save you.
Deut. 28:32 “Your sons and your daughters shall be given to another people, while your eyes look on and yearn for them continually; but there will be nothing you can do.
Deut. 28:33 “A people whom you do not know shall eat up the produce of your ground and all your labors, and you will never be anything but oppressed and crushed continually.
Deut. 28:34 “You shall be driven mad by the sight of what you see.
Those are hard words, hard words. But the Lord issued those warnings through Moses specifically to give Israel incentive to obey the covenant that they just entered into freely. But as history records, they forgot the covenant. And so now the question becomes, “What do you expect God to do under those circumstances?”
Because here's the point. And really the core of the book of Ezekiel. God's glory is on the line here. He could no more ignore the Words He spoke to them in this covenant than He could lie to them. What do you expect God to do? You expect God to only observe the things in His Word that we prefer? Is that a God you can trust? Is that a God who keeps His promises?
And that's the challenge. That's the two-sided understanding of what we see in the covenant God gave Israel in the old. He said to them, “You have an opportunity for blessing, but there's also going to be consequences for failure.” You can't rest on one side unless you're willing to see God is faithful on both sides.
So for His glory’s sake, He was obligated to fulfill the terms of His covenant in judgment against Israel. And Israel couldn't understand their circumstances unless they understood the importance of the glory of God. They were in exile because they entered into a covenant with a covenant-keeping God.
And we, too, are in covenant by the blood of Christ. We're in a new and better covenant, but we're in covenant with a covenant-keeping God whose first priority in that covenant in that relationship is His glory.
And you have to appreciate how life circumstances are moving in your life under His hand, according to His will for His glory. Not for your will, necessarily. Not for your enjoyment, necessarily - not in the short term - so that when circumstances require, the Lord may bring something difficult into our lives by one means or another.
But when He does it, He only does it because His glory requires it. He'll do it to grow us or to prepare us for what's next, or to disciple us or to discipline us, but always according to His Word.
And corollary in this truth is that when He does these things in your life, He will not be silent about it. He will not leave you in the dark as to why you are in the situation you're in, no more than He did for Israel. By His Spirit, in His word, He will explain Himself just as He did to Israel, through Ezekiel.
But here's the thing. He usually just reminds you of things you already knew. It's never news. You know it’s never, “Oh, if I had only known that.” It’s usually, “Oh, I knew that. But I didn't really follow that”
We serve a holy God who calls us to be like Him, and He asks us to bring glory to His name among the nations, and we must therefore remain faithful to His Word so that we can accomplish that goal. But even when we are not, He remains faithful to His, which means sometimes, we find ourselves sitting by a river, wondering, “How did we get here?”