GO FORTH INTO THE VALLEY
Ezekiel 3:22 ¶ And the hand of the LORD was there upon me; and he said unto me, Arise, go forth into the plain, and I will there talk with thee. 23 Then I arose, and went forth into the plain: and, behold, the glory of the LORD stood there, as the glory which I saw by the river of Chebar: and I fell on my face. 24 Then the spirit entered into me, and set me upon my feet, and spake with me, and said unto me, Go, shut thyself within thine house. 25 But thou, O son of man, behold, they shall put bands upon thee, and shall bind thee with them, and thou shalt not go out among them: 26 And I will make thy tongue cleave to the roof of thy mouth, that thou shalt be dumb, and shalt not be to them a reprover: for they are a rebellious house. 27 But when I speak with thee, I will open thy mouth, and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; He that heareth, let him hear; and he that forbeareth, let him forbear: for they are a rebellious house.
Ezekiel states that the hand of God was there upon me. Where is “there?” We learn the answer to this in verse fifteen of this same chapter. Then I came to them of the captivity at Telabib, that dwelt by the river of Chebar, and I sat where they sat, and remained there astonished among them seven days. Therefore at this time when the LORD makes contact with this former Israelite priest, he was at “Tel-abib” which means “the hill of ears.” “Tel” means hill, or mound. And “abib” is the same as “green ears of corn” in Leviticus 2:14. And we see that he was instructed to Arise, go forth into the plain, and I will there talk with thee. Now that word translated “plain” is the word translated “valley” in Ezekiel 37:1, 2. In this instruction this one to be used of God is required to “Come Down!”
Then in verse twenty-four of our text, he is instructed to Go, shut thyself within thine house. And in this we see that he is instructed to “Come In.” And both of these instructions are still required of every follower of Christ today!
We are all required to Come Down from our pride in mournful repentance. We are only said to be blessed as we are mournful of our sin! Matt. 5:4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
For the grace of spiritual life only grows in the soil of humility. James 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. 9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.
One cannot be exalted in spiritual graces until he is spiritually humbled, learning not to think too highly of himself! 1 Peter 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. 6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
Therefore, Ezekiel, our former priest (Ezekiel 1:3), is set forth on his road to becoming God’s prophet (Ezekiel 2:5), in the same way as a believer, born of the Holy Spirit is set on his way of progressive sanctification.
We see that being “there” with the captives caused a passion that would require overcoming for a more pure spirit to walk and work with God. For he states that I remained there astonished among them seven days. These fleshly feelings had to be replaced by true spiritual affections. Colossians 3:5 Mortify (make dead) therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, (affections which go “beyond the normal limit”), evil concupiscence, (“evil lusts”), and covetousness, which is idolatry:
We have to guard against the Devil’s trick of using our human affections to mislead us by guilt and pity! For in these, as the angel of light, (2 Corinthians 11:14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light), Satan leads the church about while they think they are being led of the Holy Spirit!
And then Ezekiel is required to Come In. For Ezekiel must first Come Down from being directed by his human feelings, and then is farther instructed to Come In and shut thyself within thine house. Every professing believer is so informed of his private responsibilities in his new relationship with the Holy Spirit. Matthew 6:5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
For even though the believer attends public worship, has family devotions and communes with endeared personal believers, he is not there yet! The believer is spiritually created to be in personal fellowship with the Lord. And only in fulfilling this basic birth-purpose, can he properly have fellowship with other believers. 1 John 1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; 2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) 3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.
Those who are not much with God cannot be much with mankind! This is why our churches are so spiritually weak today. We go to every effort and expense to have all kinds of provisions for “Christian fellowship” – summer camps, bible conferences, home comings, special meals, spiritual retreats, individual men’s and women’s groups – but where is our personal alone time with God Himself? We cannot cease to fault the world for same sex relationships. But when we, as the Bride of Christ, seek only to the other members of that Bride for our fellowship, are we not doing the same? Christ is our Head. Christ is our “male” Husband. But we had rather have a covered dish supper than to enter into our closets in meditation and prayerful heart-searching before him!
Isaiah 54:5 For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called. Isaiah 51:12 I, even I, am he that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass; 13 And forgettest the LORD thy maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth; and hast feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy? and where is the fury of the oppressor?
The dearest and most sacred of unions; the marriage of man to woman; of which it is commanded that no man put asunder, (Matthew 19:6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.), is authorized to be separated by spiritual, personal fellowship of each partner with the Lord! 1 Corinthians 7:5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.
Jacob would have never, (humanly speaking), been changed to “Israel” except for his alone time with Jehovah God! Genesis 32:22 And he rose up that night, and took his two wives, and his two womenservants, and his eleven sons, and passed over the ford Jabbok. 23 And he took them, and sent them over the brook, and sent over that he had.
Genesis 32:24 ¶ And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. 28 And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.
But we are exclusively known by our human names. For we seek ourselves to be known. We must have our faces and names set forth on the Internet! We must have out lives displayed in our blogs, insisting that who we are, and what we do each day must be made known to the world! We are not willing to die to self in order that Christ may be all in all! Therefore we have no such power with God or man, as we do not have any alone time with the Lord, seeking to lose ourselves in Him! Revelation 2:17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.
2 Corinthians 4:10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. 11 For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.
Our love for all others, no matter how dear the relationship, is required to seem as hatred when compared to our love for God! Luke 14:26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. 27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
And no matter just how deeply we are involved with ‘church-anity,’ we must be willing to come outside of every religious affiliation in order to sup with Christ! Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: (that is the church door), if any man hear my voice, (for not all who are ‘attending church’ and ‘hearing sermons,’ are hearing the voice of Christ), and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. For if that hand, reaching forth unto only organized religion offends, we must chop it off! And if that eye can see no farther then religious affiliation, we must pluck it out. Matthew 18:9 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.
Our worship is to be exclusively offered to the Lord Christ alone. Exodus 34:14 For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God: Matthew 4:10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
We are all aware of the loss of the Notre Dame Cathedral by fire this past week. Religious persons the world over lamented its loss. It was an eight hundred year old structure.
But is there a single tear for the destruction of the inner cathedrals of the hearts of professing believers? Where is the love for Him who is love? How is it we have become satisfied with only religion in its replacement for our first love? Mark 12:30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. Revelation 2:4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
Consider the words of this song which was published in the 1930’s:
“I built a cathedral way down in my heart,
Where God holds his council with me.
No one on this earth has ever been there,
For I have the only known key.
Every morning and night I am kneeling,
At my altar where love guides the way.
For my prayers bring the help and the strength I need,
To carry life’s burdens each day.
In my own cathedral, I built long ago,
There’s comfort the world cannot find.
For there I’m alone with the powers that be,
At peace with the world and mankind.
Everyone on this earth should be building,
A cathedral, no matter how small;
For the Saviors is waiting to meet us there,
With God’s endless love for us all.”
Sung by Richard Maxwell on
“The Sacred Hour.”
Are you one of the justified? Then the just shall live by faith! Can you trust the Lord? The very next issue which presents itself which disturbs your peace of mind can you “Tell it to Jesus alone?” Don’t go to your blog. Don’t go to your Facebook page. Don’t go to your church. Don’t go to make an addition to the prayer list. Don’t breath it to anyone except Jesus alone. Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
The Lord already knows all your thoughts. Why not commune with Him about them?Psalm 139:1 O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. 2 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. 3 Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. 4 For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.
May the Lord, in great mercy awaken the sleeping virgins!
Pastor Gene Breed
April 18, 2019