We began a new series on the Book of Ezekiel yesterday. The Old Testament prophets are strange and confusing to read since they are full of bizarre imagery, metaphors, and themes.
In chapter two, Ezekiel has a vision of God handing him a scroll with God’s message of lamentation and woe. He’s told to swallow the scroll and then to speak those words to his generation, whether they like it or not (and they won’t like it). The Bible uses the same image of ‘eating’ God’s Word several times. It implies that God’s people are to depend on Scripture as nourishment for our souls, to long for and taste its goodness, meditate over its message, and to be transformed by it.
Ezekiel pictures God’s word in three ways:
- Sweet: desirable and exquisite
- Bitter: challenging and corrective
- Strange: unpredictable and deep
One simple test helps us gauge our relationship to the Bible: Does it confront us? If we only get what we like to hear from Scripture, then we’re reading into it what we want. Yet, if we receive all of it — sweet, bitter, and strange — then we at least know that the Bible is acting as an outside source of authority in our lives. We’re able to rely upon the good promises of grace because we trust the source of those promises.
At Redeemer West Side, we are unabashedly centered on Scripture. All our theology, preaching, teaching, and counsel stem from a commitment to accurately interpreting and applying the word of God. We cannot be perfect at that, but we consistently aim for alignment with what scripture says.
God’s word is as essential today as it was in the sixth century BC. Christians still need to cling to Scripture and savor it as much as Ezekiel did. Jesus relied upon it for his authority, used it to fight his enemies, and clung to it in his relationship with his father. He insisted that he was the fulfillment of God’s word. “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me” (John 5:39 ESV; see also Luke 24). As John points out, Jesus is the word (John 1:1), so trusting in Christ and trusting the Bible are intertwined.
Spending more time in God’s word enables Christians to counteract the messages we hear from other voices in our life. We are fed thousands of words all day from hundreds of sources, and all of them shape us in some way. If those words are Twinkies (sugary and unhealthy), in contrast then God’s word is kale (hearty, healthy, and not always fun). Eat more kale.
Watch the Big Game with us
On February 12, starting at 5:45, (kick-off is at 6:30) come on over to W83 for some food, drinks (for all ages), and community! Join us to watch the Big Game while helping our neighbors in need, bringing a can of non-expired soup.