And each went straight forward. Wherever the spirit would go, they went, without turning as they went. (Ezekiel 1:12 ESV)
Ezekiel’s ministry began as a captive in Babylon. He was taken during the second captivity along with King Jehoiachin. Ezekiel encouraged his fellow captives to settle down because they will be there awhile ~ as in 70 years awhile.
How dejected they must have felt.
But notice God sent them Ezekiel whose name means “God strengthens” or “May God strengthen.” God knew they were going to need every ounce of strength they have to endure. Isn’t that just like God? He is just and merciful at the same time.
Immediately Ezekiel has a vision about the four living creatures with the four faces. As a side note, it has been said that the faces in each signify Jesus in the four gospels. In Matthew, He is the Lion of the tribe of Judah. In Mark, He is the servant, the ox. In Luke, He is the Son of man and in John, as deity, the eagle. What I noticed about them this time was how they seemed very intent in following the Spirit. The main verse says “without turning as they went.”
Then there is constant mention of wings. In the NASB version there are 63 verses containing wings and 17 of them were in Ezekiel. According to Gesenius’ Lexicon “wings” is a metaphor for protection and care.
How to put it all together?
Nugget 1: You may be in captivity, but God sends His strength to help. Christians are not exempt from trials. We will continue to come against the enemy, the world or even our own sin nature. Just like Ezekiel, serve God even in the midst of it.
Nugget 2: Follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, especially if you are in the place of captivity. Do what the four living creatures did. Each went as the spirit led. Our obedience might be the very thing that can set us free. Why don’t we follow? Could it be because we are afraid of failing?
Nugget 3: God is there to catch you. Why can’t we remember that instead of allowing fear to keep us in bondage? When God covers us in His wings we are safe. There is no need to fear and be afraid.
I decided to look up “wings” and found these verses in various versions:
He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge. His truth is your shield and armor.
~ Psalm 91:4, GOD’S WORD® Translation
As the eagle enticing her young to fly, and hovering over them, he spread his wings, and hath taken him and carried him on his shoulders.
~ Deuteronomy 32:11, Douay-Rheims Bible)
Your mercy is so precious, O God, that Adam’s descendants take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
~ Psalm 36:7, GOD’S WORD® Translation
Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusts in you: yea, in the shadow of your wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities have passed.
~ Psalm 57:1, King James 2000 Bible (©2003)
Because you have been a helper to me and in the shadow of your wings I shall triumph!
~ Psalm 63:7, Aramaic Bible in Plain English (©2010)
If you are facing a situation right now where God is encouraging you to take a leap of faith, do not be afraid. Your deliverance could be just one step of faith away. Take that step and soar, God will catch you.
[Reading from the Chronological Bible Plan]