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Thought for the Month- January 2015
“The Beginning of the Year” – Ezekiel chs 40 to 44
Here we are at the beginning of another year. The expression “the beginning of the year” only appears twice in Scripture. Firstly in Deuteronomy Ch 11 and verse 12. The Children of Israel were about to enter the Land and God makes the promise that He cares for the land and that His Eyes will be on the it from the” beginning of the year unto the end of the year” and they are given the assurance of His faithfulness if they will serve Him with all of their hearts. The promise of His experiential abiding presence and provision is made to those who in New Testament terms “keep His commandments”.
It occurs a second time in Ezekiel Chapter 40. The Lord appears to Ezekiel at the beginning of the year in the twenty fifth year of the Nations captivity in Babylon. The days were dark – Jerusalem had been smitten – the shepherds of Israel were failing in their responsibilities and the nation were in captivity but in the valley of dry bones and from the mouth of the Lord Himself Ezekiel is taught that blessings are yet to come to Israel and the Lord has everlasting purposes for them. So for ourselves in sometime dark days it is good for us to rest on the eternal nature of God’s blessings and purposes for us.
At the “beginning of the year” God has something to show to Ezekiel. Firstly He shows him a city. It was a real city – the measurements and structure of it clearly detailed and Ezekiel began to realise that though the city of the King was at that time in ruins it would in millennial days be rebuilt to God’s glory. Like the patriarch of old we too look for a city whose builder and maker is God – a city not of this world but that Heavenly city – wherein dwells righteousness and where Christ sits at the right hand of God. So the exhortation is “set your affection on things above not on things of the earth” an exhortation which carries with it a requirement for us to live accordingly in the light of God’s purposes for us – see Colossians ch 3
The second thing God shows him is the Temple and Ezekiel is taught something about the holiness of the place and the fact that perhaps its main purpose is for His glory - for the Glory of the Lord filled the house. Ezekiel is also taught that the behaviour of the people as they come to the house has to be in keeping with its holiness and the Divine presence
So at the beginning of 2015 there is encouragement for us as the Lord has prepared for us an eternal dwelling place where we will enjoy His Glory and His presence. Our focus should therefore be on the place here on earth where His presence can be enjoyed and where we can, in the right condition of heart, ensure that His glory is displayed.
So then as we enter a new year let us give less time to the passing things of this world and make matters of eternal value, which are available to us among His people, the real focus of our lives – “Seek first the Kingdom of God”