Wednesday, July 1, 2009

When Is A Call A Call?

This past week we discovered that at least three of the major prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel) all had common elements to their calling:

Set in specific date and time

Prophet Visited by vision

Prophet overwhelmed by vision and/or call

Prophet sent by God’s Spirit/voice

Prophet must speak God’s word

People would not listen

Contains symbolized action regarding word

God Addresses fear

God responds to protest/questions

God addresses weakness

Prophet expresses willingness

So here is the question: which of these elements (if any) should we expect when receiving a call from God to do something? To put it differently: Which elements are unique to the prophetic call and which are common to all calls?

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Call

Though the OT prophets certainly had a difficult road in life, one aspect is not portrayed as challenging: recognizing the call. With the kind of light and fire show that Ezekiel had, he certainly had no way of denying what he was called to do (though he didn't like it, at least at first).

This seems very different from our experience today, when figuring out what God is calling us to do can be such a slippery challenge. Since we don't usually get visions of cherubim with wings, how do we know when we are called to do something?

Monday, June 22, 2009


One of the features of Ezekiel's vision is the wheels. We discussed how one of the functions of the wheels in the vision is to show the "mobility" of God. His throne was established, but also moving. He is the God of everywhere.

Another aspect, however, of the wheels is that they are touching the earth. The idea of God (or the glory of God) touching the earth is known as "incarnation" -- best displayed, of course, in Jesus' life on earth. Thus, this vision of Ezekiel is incarnational -- it is (at least in part) a picture of God coming to earth, touching the earth, bridging the gap between heaven and earth. All things that would be done most completely in Jesus.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


One commentator suggests that the most important word in the opening couple verses of Ezekiel is the word "there." That there, in Babylon, away from Jerusalem, away from the temple, away from the promised land, that God was there. This works against the prevailing understanding in the ancient times that gods were territorial. God appearing there in Babylon dispels this notion (as will the content of the vision to come).

We aren't territorial in our understanding of God, but we do have a complex understanding of his "there-ness." For instance, we pray for the Lord to be "with" someone, but we do this with full understanding that God is already there. So we obviously are asking God to be uniquely with them or with them in a way that they recognize. Apparently, God can be more "there" sometimes than others.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Seeing Visions

The book of Ezekiel starts with Ezekiel saying, "...I saw visions of God." defines "vision" (in this context) as "an experience in which a personage, thing, or event appears vividly or credibly to the mind, although not actually present, often under the influence of a divine or other agency. Compare HALLUCINATION."

Is this a good definition of a biblical vision? Why or why not?