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SCRIPTURE REFERENCES FOR THIS SERMON:

PEAKS - Ezekiel 1:1-4:17

1:1 In the thirtieth year, on the fifth day of the fourth month, while I was among the exiles at the Kebar River, the heavens opened and I saw a divine vision. 2 (On the fifth day of the month – it was the fifth year of King Jehoiachin’s exile – 3 the Lord’s message came to the priest Ezekiel the son of Buzi, at the Kebar River in the land of the Babylonians. The hand of the Lord came on him there).

4 As I watched, I noticed a windstorm coming from the north – an enormous cloud, with lightning flashing, such that bright light rimmed it and came from it like glowing amber from the middle of a fire. 5 In the fire were what looked like four living beings. In their appearance they had human form, 6 but each had four faces and four wings. 7 Their legs were straight, but the soles of their feet were like calves’ feet. They gleamed like polished bronze. 8 They had human hands under their wings on their four sides. As for the faces and wings of the four of them, 9 their wings touched each other; they did not turn as they moved, but went straight ahead.

10 Their faces had this appearance: Each of the four had the face of a man, with the face of a lion on the right, the face of an ox on the left and also the face of an eagle. 11 Their wings were spread out above them; each had two wings touching the wings of one of the other beings on either side and two wings covering their bodies. 12 Each moved straight ahead – wherever the spirit would go, they would go, without turning as they went. 13 In the middle of the living beings was something like burning coals of fire or like torches. It moved back and forth among the living beings. It was bright, and lightning was flashing out of the fire. 14 The living beings moved backward and forward as quickly as flashes of lightning.

15 Then I looked, and I saw one wheel on the ground beside each of the four beings. 16 The appearance of the wheels and their construction was like gleaming jasper, and all four wheels looked alike. Their structure was like a wheel within a wheel. 17 When they moved they would go in any of the four directions they faced without turning as they moved. 18 Their rims were high and awesome, and the rims of all four wheels were full of eyes all around.

19 When the living beings moved, the wheels beside them moved; when the living beings rose up from the ground, the wheels rose up too. 20 Wherever the spirit would go, they would go, and the wheels would rise up beside them because the spirit of the living being was in the wheel. 21 When the living beings moved, the wheels moved, and when they stopped moving, the wheels stopped. When they rose up from the ground, the wheels rose up from the ground; the wheels rose up beside them because the spirit of the living being was in the wheel.

22 Over the heads of the living beings was something like a platform, glittering awesomely like ice, stretched out over their heads. 23 Under the platform their wings were stretched out, each toward the other. Each of the beings also had two wings covering its body. 24 When they moved, I heard the sound of their wings – it was like the sound of rushing waters, or the voice of the Sovereign One, or the tumult of an army. When they stood still, they lowered their wings.

25 Then there was a voice from above the platform over their heads when they stood still. 26 Above the platform over their heads was something like a sapphire shaped like a throne. High above on the throne was a form that appeared to be a man. 27 I saw an amber glow like a fire enclosed all around from his waist up. From his waist down I saw something that looked like fire. There was a brilliant light around it, 28 like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds after the rain. This was the appearance of the surrounding brilliant light; it looked like the glory of the Lord. When I saw it, I threw myself face down, and I heard a voice speaking.

2:1 He said to me, “Son of man, stand on your feet and I will speak with you.” 2 As he spoke to me, a wind came into me and stood me on my feet, and I heard the one speaking to me.

3 He said to me, “Son of man, I am sending you to the house of Israel, to rebellious nations who have rebelled against me; both they and their fathers have revolted against me to this very day. 4 The people to whom I am sending you are obstinate and hard-hearted, and you must say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says.’ 5 And as for them, whether they listen or not – for they are a rebellious house – they will know that a prophet has been among them. 6 But you, son of man, do not fear them, and do not fear their words – even though briers and thorns surround you and you live among scorpions – do not fear their words and do not be terrified of the looks they give you, for they are a rebellious house! 7 You must speak my words to them whether they listen or not, for they are rebellious. 8 As for you, son of man, listen to what I am saying to you: Do not rebel like that rebellious house! Open your mouth and eat what I am giving you.”

9 Then I looked and realized a hand was stretched out to me, and in it was a written scroll. 10 He unrolled it before me, and it had writing on the front and back; written on it were laments, mourning, and woe.

3:1 He said to me, “Son of man, eat what you see in front of you – eat this scroll – and then go and speak to the house of Israel.” 2 So I opened my mouth and he fed me the scroll.

3 He said to me, “Son of man, feed your stomach and fill your belly with this scroll I am giving to you.” So I ate it, and it was sweet like honey in my mouth.

4 He said to me, “Son of man, go to the house of Israel and speak my words to them. 5 For you are not being sent to a people of unintelligible speech and difficult language, but to the house of Israel – 6 not to many peoples of unintelligible speech and difficult language, whose words you cannot understand – surely if I had sent you to them, they would listen to you! 7 But the house of Israel is unwilling to listen to you, because they are not willing to listen to me, for the whole house of Israel is hard-headed and hard-hearted.

8 “I have made your face adamant to match their faces, and your forehead hard to match their foreheads. 9 I have made your forehead harder than flint – like diamond! Do not fear them or be terrified of the looks they give you, for they are a rebellious house.”

10 And he said to me, “Son of man, take all my words that I speak to you to heart and listen carefully. 11 Go to the exiles, to your fellow countrymen, and speak to them – say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says,’ whether they pay attention or not.”

12 Then a wind lifted me up and I heard a great rumbling sound behind me as the glory of the Lord rose from its place, 13 and the sound of the living beings’ wings brushing against each other, and the sound of the wheels alongside them, a great rumbling sound. 14 A wind lifted me up and carried me away. I went bitterly, my spirit full of fury, and the hand of the Lord rested powerfully on me. 15 I came to the exiles at Tel Abib, who lived by the Kebar River. I sat dumbfounded among them there, where they were living, for seven days.

16 At the end of seven days the Lord’s message came to me: 17 “Son of man, I have appointed you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you must give them a warning from me. 18 When I say to the wicked, “You will certainly die,” and you do not warn him – you do not speak out to warn the wicked to turn from his wicked lifestyle so that he may live – that wicked person will die for his iniquity, but I will hold you accountable for his death. 19 But as for you, if you warn the wicked and he does not turn from his wicked deed and from his wicked lifestyle, he will die for his iniquity but you will have saved your own life.

20 “When a righteous person turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I set an obstacle before him, he will die. If you have not warned him, he will die for his sin. The righteous deeds he performed will not be considered, but I will hold you accountable for his death. 21 However, if you warn the righteous person not to sin, and he does not sin, he will certainly live because he was warned, and you will have saved your own life.”

22 The hand of the Lord rested on me there, and he said to me, “Get up, go out to the valley, and I will speak with you there.” 23 So I got up and went out to the valley, and the glory of the Lord was standing there, just like the glory I had seen by the Kebar River, and I threw myself face down.

24 Then a wind came into me and stood me on my feet. The Lord spoke to me and said, “Go shut yourself in your house. 25 As for you, son of man, they will put ropes on you and tie you up with them, so you cannot go out among them. 26 I will make your tongue stick to the roof of your mouth so that you will be silent and unable to reprove them, for they are a rebellious house. 27 But when I speak with you, I will loosen your tongue and you must say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says.’ Those who listen will listen, but the indifferent will refuse, for they are a rebellious house.

4:1 “And you, son of man, take a brick and set it in front of you. Inscribe a city on it – Jerusalem. 2 Lay siege to it! Build siege works against it. Erect a siege ramp against it! Post soldiers outside it and station battering rams around it. 3 Then for your part take an iron frying pan and set it up as an iron wall between you and the city. Set your face toward it. It is to be under siege; you are to besiege it. This is a sign for the house of Israel.

4 “Also for your part lie on your left side and place the iniquity of the house of Israel on it. For the number of days you lie on your side you will bear their iniquity. 5 I have determined that the number of the years of their iniquity are to be the number of days for you – 390 days. So bear the iniquity of the house of Israel.

6 “When you have completed these days, then lie down a second time, but on your right side, and bear the iniquity of the house of Judah 40 days – I have assigned one day for each year. 7 You must turn your face toward the siege of Jerusalem with your arm bared and prophesy against it. 8 Look here, I will tie you up with ropes, so you cannot turn from one side to the other until you complete the days of your siege.

9 “As for you, take wheat, barley, beans, lentils, millet, and spelt, put them in a single container, and make food from them for yourself. For the same number of days that you lie on your side – 390 days – you will eat it. 10 The food you eat will be eight ounces a day by weight; you must eat it at fixed times. 11 And you must drink water by measure, a pint and a half; you must drink it at fixed times. 12 And you must eat the food like you would a barley cake. You must bake it in front of them over a fire made with dried human excrement.” 13 And the Lord said, “This is how the people of Israel will eat their unclean food among the nations where I will banish them.”

14 And I said, “Ah, Sovereign Lord, I have never been ceremonially defiled before. I have never eaten a carcass or an animal torn by wild beasts; from my youth up, unclean meat has never entered my mouth.”

15 So he said to me, “All right then, I will substitute cow’s manure instead of human excrement. You will cook your food over it.”

16 Then he said to me, “Son of man, I am about to remove the bread supply in Jerusalem. They will eat their bread ration anxiously, and they will drink their water ration in terror 17 because they will lack bread and water. Each one will be terrified, and they will rot for their iniquity.