Ezekiel’s New Year Message
“In the five and twentieth year of our captivity, in the beginning of the year, in the tenth day of the month, in the fourteenth year after that the city was smitten, in the selfsame day the hand of the LORD was upon me, and brought me thither.” Ezekiel 40:1
That New Year of the 25th year of captivity, Ezekiel was granted a view of the future, and the Temple and City where the Lord would one day reign.
The final chapters of the Book of Ezekiel tell of his vision concerning Israel’s future. Finally – as he receives that New Year vision of the future – he writes these words:
“…The name of the city from that day shall be, The LORD is there.” Ezekiel 48:35
“The Lord is there!”
As we stand at the beginning of this New Year, there is one thing we may be sure of: The Lord is there!
Bad Days? He is there!
The first thing that is obvious about this coming year is that it holds the unknown. We do not know what will happen to us this coming year.
But though we do not know some things, we know the important thing: He will be there!
David walked through dark valleys. He called them the “valley of the shadow of death” – they were fearful paths, but he was aware of the Lord’s presence:
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” Psalms 23:4
Jacob found the presence of the Lord in the lonely wilderness:
“And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.” Genesis 28:17
Birthdays? He is there!
The second obvious thing about this coming year is that it will make us a little bit older! In fact, this next year will consist of about 1.5% of our lives! People fear the advance of years. They face retirement with uncertainty. We hear horror stories of old people suffering.
But even in old age we have the assurance that He will be there.
“And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.” Isaiah 46:4
“Cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength faileth.” Psalms 71:9
God will not cast us away in time of old age. In fact, God’s people can be even more successful in their later years. Here is a wonderful promise:
“Those that are planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing;” Psalms 92:13-14
Stormy Days? He is there!
In changes of climate. News reports of global warming, and freak weather, alarm the hearts of people. However, according to the Scriptures you can be sure, the seasons will continue.
God has set the cosmos in motion, and promised that there will be seed-time and harvest:
“While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” Genesis 8:22
Hagar and her baby – alone in the desert – facing the elements saw the miraculous presence and providence of the Lord:
“And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink.” Genesis 21:19
“But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.” Isaiah 43:1-2
Elijah thought God was missing during freak weather:
“And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: and after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. And it was so, when Elijah heard it that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?” 1 Kings 19:11-13
Dear friends, you may feel all alone in the stormy days, in the earthquakes, in the fire. But if you listen carefully you will still hear that still small voice of God. He is there.
In fact, God was there even in the whirlwind or tornado that took him up to Heaven:
“And it came to pass, when the LORD would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal.” 2 Kings 2:1
The disciples found out that Jesus was Lord over nature. They could not imagine how He could sleep during the storm. The little boat was at the point of sinking, but Jesus rebuked the waves, and said “Peace, be still!” Immediately the storm calmed.
“And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” Mark 4:39-41
You need not fear if Jesus is with you!
So we do not need to fear the future. The Lord will be there.
“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength:” Isaiah 26:3-4
Wedding Day? He is there!
“And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: and both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage.” John 2:1-2
This word called means that Jesus was invited. Doesn’t that make this a precious verse?
Can you see the young couple drawing up the guest list for the wedding?
“Aunts and uncles; nieces and nephews; cousins; friends…. O yes! And do not forget Jesus!”
Little did that couple know their wedding day was going to turn into a nightmare. The guest list was longer than the wine list!
They would run out of wine. They would be short of a lot of wine. In fact they were 180 gallons short! It would take a miracle, and nothing less. Good job they had invited Jesus!
That marriage of yours also is going to be subjected to many problems, and you are going to need miraculous help along the way. Perhaps you did not invite Jesus to the wedding, but you had better invite Him into the marriage immediately.
At this New Year, He stands at the door and knocks. If you open the door and nvite Him, and He will be there in your home!
School Days? He is there!
I have good news for you: even at school you can find Jesus. Listen to these verses:
“And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king’s seed, and of the princes; children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans. And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king’s meat, and of the wine which he drank: so nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king. Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego.” Daniel 1:3-7
If you are having a tough time at school or college, you should read about Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
They had been carried captive into a foreign land, and now they had to go to school where they were to learn a new language, new customs, and new sciences.
You can see that things cannot get much tougher than in that school situation in Babylon.
Their school days ended in a fiery furnace when they refused to worship an image. You know the story well, and you also know that the Lord was there:
“Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” Daniel 3:24-25
Rely on it, Jesus will be with you also.
Sundays?: He is there!
The Lord showed Ezekiel one sure place where He could be found:
“And he said unto me, Son of man, the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and my holy name, shall the house of Israel no more defile, neither they, nor their kings, by their whoredom, nor by the carcases of their kings in their high places.” Ezekiel 43:7
This is a wonderful promise. He told Ezekiel that this Temple would be the place of His throne, He would stand there – He would dwell there.
God has always desired to dwell with His People. That is why He told Moses to construct the Tabernacle:
“…Let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.” Ex 25:8
Jesus promised He would be there wherever two or three were gathered in His Name:
“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:20
There is a thrill and wonder of worship when God’s people are gathered together.
Salvation is a personal relationship, and as individuals we can enjoy the presence of God. However, there is something special about corporate worship.
God lives in the praises of His people. Listen to this verse:
“But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.” Ps 22:3
Remember you have an appointment every Sunday and every mid-week service. The Lord will be there!
This year can be a year of wonders for you…
Face the unknown with faith: The Lord is there!
Meet old age with confidence: The Lord is there!
Rest in the storm: The Lord is there!
Marvel in marriage: The Lord is there!
Relax at school: The Lord is there!
Wonder in worship: The Lord is there!