Ezekiel 3:22, 23
And the hand of the LORD was there on me; and he said to me, Arise, go forth into the plain, and I will there talk with you.…
And the band of the Lord was there upon me; and he said unto me, Arise, etc. The text presents for our notice -
I. THE GRACIOUS PREPARATION OF MAN FOR THE RECEPTION OF DIVINE COMMUNICATIONS. "And the hand of the Lord was there upon me." (We have already briefly noticed the significance of this expression in dealing with Ezekiel 1:3.) Ezekiel seems to have been grieved and saddened in spirit (vers. 14, 15). Such depression unfitted him for receiving communications from God. Therefore "the hand of the Lord," the power of the Lord, came upon him to quicken him for the reception of the revelation of his will. God prepares his servants for his service. He qualifies and enables them to sustain exalted privileges, to perform arduous duties, to bear severe trials.
II. AN IMPORTANT CONDITION, FOR MAN, OF THE RECEPTION OF DIVINE COMMUNICATIONS. "Arise, go forth into the plain, and I will there talk with thee." Ezekiel is thus commanded to depart from Tel-Abib and his fellow captives, and to go, not to the "plain extending to the river, but to a certain valley between the mountain walls there" - for such is the signification of the word which is translated "plain" in the Authorized Version. Retirement was a condition of communion and communication with God. If the prophet would hear his voice and behold his glory, he must go into the lonely valley. "God makes himself known to the mind only when it has been entirely withdrawn from worldly influences. We must be in the valley; but we may be in the bustling town, and yet in the valley" (Hengstenberg). (We have spoken of solitude and quiet as favouring Divine communications in our remarks on Ezekiel 1:1: "By the river of Chebar.")
III. THE CONDESCENSION OF GOD IN THE BESTOWMENT UPON MAN OF DIVINE COMMUNICATIONS. With Ezekiel the Lord communicated in two ways.
1. By speech. "I will there talk with thee." God made known his will to his servant. Spiritually, he thus communicates with his people still. In infinite condescension, "the High and Lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy, and who dwells in the high and holy place," also makes his abode in the hearts of his people (Isaiah 42:15; John 14:23). They have intimate fellowship with him (1 John 1:3). He will even visit them as their Guest, and sup with them (Revelation 3:20). They are blessedly conscious of his presence with them. By his Spirit he speaks unto them.
2. By vision. "Then I arose, and went forth into the plain: and, behold, the glory of the Lord stood there," etc. The glory of tire Lord which the prophet beheld was like that which he saw before, and which he mentions in Ezekiel 1:28. (We have already remarked on the granting of Divine visions to man, on Ezekiel 1:1: "I saw visions of God.") And in our own times God opens the spiritual eyes of man, and grants unto him spiritual visions. Visions of truth and purity and beauty he exhibits to his people. He even reveals himself unto them. Our Lord promised to manifest himself unto his loving and obedient disciples (John 14:21). "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God."
IV. THE IMMEDIATE EFFECT UPON MAN OF DIVINE COMMUNICATIONS. "And I fell on my face."
1. The sight of such glory humbles man with the sense of his own immeasurable inferiority.
2. The sight of such glory overwhelms man by quickening his consciousness of sin into greater activity.
3. Such humiliation is a condition of hearing the voice of God. - W.J.
Parallel VersesKJV: And the hand of the LORD was there upon me; and he said unto me, Arise, go forth into the plain, and I will there talk with thee.