Ezekiel: Repentance and Hope – Lent 2017, Part 5 The Temple and the River Ezekiel 47:1-12; 48:35 April 2nd, 2017
I. EZEKIEL’S final VISION (Chap. 40-48)
A. A MOUNTAIN and a TEMPLE in ISRAEL (Chap. 40-42)
B. God’s glory RETURNS and RESTORES. (Chap. 43-46)
In this final vision of Ezekiel, 20 years after the first, we are transported once again to Israel. He is taken to a high unnamed mountain, where he sees a city (never called Jerusalem – see 48:35) and a huge temple. The message is one of hope, all that they have lost and more will be restored, and the glory of God that had left the temple will return.
1. Have you ever had an experience where you felt like God “showed” you something? What was that like? How did you respond to it?
2. Ezekiel sees the return of God’s glory. We know God never leaves us, but when have you felt like God “returned” after a long dry spell? What was that like for you?
II. The TEMPLE – Three POSSIBILITIES.
A. LITERAL and COMING.
B. PROPHECY as God’s INVITATION.
C. SYMBOLIC and fulfilled in JESUS.
This section that closes out the prophecy of Ezekiel is fascinating in that there are so many different ideas in regards to what is actually being communicated. There are at least three ways
of interpreting this temple prophecy, all with good reasons for and against.
3. Which of the three ideas regarding this temple prophecy makes the most sense to you? Why?
4. Is a combination of these ideas possible? What might that be?
III. The RIVER that RENEWS everything. (47:1-12)
A. It FLOWS from the PRESENCE of God. (47:1-2; 48:35)
B. It GROWS as it FLOWS. (47:3-5)
C. Brings LIFE from DEATH. (47:6-11)
D. PROVISION and HEALING (47:12; Rev. 22:2)
Our main focus today is chapter 47, where the small stream that flows from the holy of holies expands to renew and restore all of creation. The imagery here is beautiful and needs to be
experienced for the poetry that it is. The message to the exiles is that God isn’t done with you, your life will be a vehicle through which the world will be changed. It’s a message we all need to hear.
5. What imagery or word picture from chapter 47 stands out to you most and why?
6. If you had to describe your life in metaphorical language (images and word pictures) what words would you use right now?
7. When have you seen God bring life to a place or a situation that you thought was dead? What impact did that have on you?
IV. LETTING Ezekiel into our LENT.
A. God’s PRESENCE is LIFE. (48:35; Jn. 1:1-4,14)
B. We live IN and AS the flow. (Jn. 7:37-39a)
C. The river brings LIFE, PROVISION, and HEALING. (47:8-12)
And once again we need to reflect on what Ezekiel’s message says to us. The image of the river flowing from the presence of God is a powerful one. It reminds us that through the Holy Spirit we live in the presence of God every second of every day. That changes us, and those around us.
8. How aware are you of God’s presence in your day to day life? What types of things help or hinder that awareness?
9. Is our role as the “river” dependent on how we feel? What does it depend on?
10. Envision your life as a river. What people and situations do you flow by day by day? How might God want to bring life, provision, and healing to these situations through you