Ezekiel: Message for a “Hijacked” Church
I loathe much of the news concerning my Seventh-day Adventist Church. The unilateral actions, the bold rebellion and rhetoric, the proud reports of progressive independence from voted church policy, are very disturbing. Am I on a hijacked plane soon to crash? What can be done?
Ezekiel speaks to my frustration. Recently, I noticed that the phrase: “in the midst of” (and slight variants) occurs some 80 times in Ezekiel—more than in any other book of the Bible. A synonym, “among” occurs some 50 times. Why?
As I read Ezekiel via these phrases, I saw a new depth to the diagnostic omniscience of God. He sees Israel's captivity (chapter one); He sends a prophet “among” them to counsel repentance and obedience (two). God views the religious leaders' idolatry and sun worship “in the midst of” the temple (eight) and warns of judgment to fall, beginning “at my sanctuary,” (9:6). As Israel's rebellion continues, He warns plainly of siege, then dispersion “among” the heathen, (20:23).
I found hope for my “hijacked” church. God has dealt with such troubles before. In mercy, God sent a prophet among end-time Israel, as He sent Ezekiel to the “rebellious nation that hath rebelled against me....For they are impudent children and stiffhearted,” (2:3,4) to the core.
After a series of parables (chapters 15-19), God depicts Lucifer's (Tyre's) pride and fall (chapter 28). He also forecasts desolation for Egypt and all who would obstruct His sure purposes. Our Great Physician offers heart surgery, from stony heart to heart of flesh (chapter 28). He will revive the “dry bones” (chapter 37). God will work in “the midst of” all scenarios.
God outlines His temple restoration plan, generously promising: “...Son of man, the place of my throne...where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and my holy name, shall the house of Israel no more defile....Now let them put away their whoredom,...far from me, and I will dwell in the midst of them for ever,” (43:7, 9, emphasis mine).
Will He not do the same for us, for our rebellious households, churches, conferences, unions and divisions? Undoubtedly He sees our apostasies, too, and likewise bids us repent.
God sends healing waters issuing from the sanctuary; medicinal leaves grow on all plants thus watered. Land is distributed among the tribes, a portion for the priests, with the sanctuary “in the midst thereof,” (48:10). His plan isn't new. “Let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them,” Exodus 25:8. Ezekiel closes with the name God will use for Jerusalem: "The Lord is there,” 48:35.
With this whirlwind tour through Ezekiel, let us take courage from God's awareness of the minutest details of our lives, our church. He will thwart Lucifer's “hijacking” of His church. He will discipline all involved. Ultimately, He will dwell “in the midst of” His consecrated people. May I be one of them; may that day be soon!