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Ezekiel 1: Envisioning the Glory of God

For more context before you begin studying, read this introduction to the book of Ezekiel.

No one can experience someone else's encounter with God. Therefore, Ezekiel's verbal record of his vision is, in one sense, unique to this prophet. But there are universal elements in Ezekiel's experience which can awaken our own faith if we are willing to not only think about the concept of God's glory, but also allow our imaginations to become a vehicle for faith-response to God's glory through this inspired word picture. We might then say, along with the theologian Karl Barth, "God is beautiful."

Warming Up to God

What pictures, if any, have you had when you have thought about or experienced God's greatness?

Read Ezekiel 1

Discovering the Word

  • Ezekiel is by the Kebar River in faraway Babylonian exile. It is five years after he and his compatriots were forcibly removed from Jerusalem. You may find it helpful to close your eyes and allow each new dimension of the vision to unfold. Record your impressions of colors, changing light, sounds, movement and symbols.
  • In this vision of God what do we learn about the relationship between God and his creation (vv. 4-21)?
  • What do verses 4-21 suggest about the character of God?
  • As Ezekiel is directed from creation to Creator (vv. 22-28), what further images and sounds create a sense of the glory of God?
  • Why would no form but the human form be appropriate to represent God visually?

Applying the Word

  • That the God of Zion would appear to Ezekiel in far-off Babylon amidst the sordid heathenism must have been an immense encouragement to Ezekiel. What does this mean for your personal life and your church life?
  • What aspects of the vision point to new frontiers in your experience of God?

Responding in Prayer

As you pray, allow God to redeem your imagination to envision the glory of God. (There are some thoughts on the use of the imagination in the introduction.)

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