Chewing on the opening chapters of Ezekiel this morning. And while a picture might be worth a thousand words, a thousand words are inadequate to describe the vision Ezekiel beheld by the Chebar canal.
In the opening chapter, Ezekiel describes a great cloud, flashing fire around it, living creatures in the midst of it, hovering over wheels within wheels below it. The creatures themselves, beyond description. A human likeness, but each with four faces and each with four wings. Radiance emitting from them, they shine as burning coals of fire. And these angelic torches move to and fro with such speed that they appear like flashes of lightening. It’s like trying to describe the indescribable.
But they weren’t even the center of attention. They were but the porters who bore, as it were, a divine litter upon their shoulders–it too beyond description.
Above these angelic beings was “an expanse, shining like awe-inspiring crystal, spread out above their heads.” And above the expanse, the likeness of a throne. And on the throne, indescribable, unapproachable light. Like the radiance of sapphires, and like sun reflecting on shiny metal.
Imagine looking into a blazing furnace, and your looking upon the expanse born by the winged creatures. And there, in the midst, is a figure, defined only by the unimaginable brightness about Him. Enveloped in the resplendent colors of the brightest rainbow you’ve ever seen . . . times a thousand.
Words unable to adequately describe the vision. My mind unable to fully process the picture Ezekiel’s trying to paint. But one thing is clear. To have your eyes fall upon the vision is to also know the unrestrainable reflex to fall on your face. Awesome!
And then, in chapter 3, Ezekiel sees the same vision while in the valley. And that which is incapable of being fully described with many words is captured with but two words, the glory.
And the hand of the LORD was upon me there. And He said to me, “Arise, go out into the valley, and there I will speak with you.” So I arose and went out into the valley, and behold, the glory of the LORD stood there, like the glory that I had seen by the Chebar canal, and I fell on my face.
(Ezekiel 3:22-23 ESV)
The glory. That’s what Ezekiel beheld by the Chebar canal. That’s what he saw in the valley. The glory of the LORD stood there.
Indescribable, but not unidentifiable. Such is the glory of God.
So overwhelming when encountered that the knees buckle, the face goes into the ground, and worship pours forth as the only natural response to such supernatural revelation.
Oh, to behold the glory!
But wait! We have!
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14 ESV)
We have seen the glory. Maybe not before us as a light show beyond description, but revealed to our hearts nevertheless as the Light of the world. Not processed by sight, but made known through eyes of faith. Absent the winged living creatures of exuding radiance, but revealed by the Father Himself through the Spirit of illumination who delights to make the Son known. So that by Him, we see Jesus.
And behold, the glory of the Lord stood there . . . and I fell on my face.
How privileged was Ezekiel to see the glory? How blessed are we to abide in the Glory?
Indescribable, but not unknowable. Beyond words, but not beyond worship. Surrounded in light, but no longer unapproachable light. Facedown before Him, even as He comes in to dine with us as His brothers, His sisters, His friends.
Behold . . . the glory!
Because of His overflowing grace. All for His eternal praise.