Ezekiel 3:12, 13
Then the spirit took me up, and I heard behind me a voice of a great rushing, saying, Blessed be the glory of the LORD from his place.…
As a true prophet, Ezekiel was specially susceptible to spiritual influences. Again and again he speaks of the Spirit as taking possession of him, pleasing him in new circumstances, enlarging his experiences, qualifying him for special ministries. Divesting ourselves of the notion that such interpositions are to be interpreted as mechanical and local, we must seek to enter into their spiritual significance. The interest of this passage largely lies in its bearing upon the prophet's own personal history and ministerial service.
I. CELESTIAL VOICES CAME TO ONE WHO HAD JUST PASSED THROUGH VERY DISHEARTENING EXPERIENCES.
1. Ezekiel had been reminded of the unbelief and rebelliousness of his countrymen, to whom it was his vocation to minister. Their character had been described to him in language of the truth of which he was too well aware. To preach to the hardened and unsympathetic is no pleasant task. Yet it is a task to which every retreater of religion is often called. His is frequently the voice of one crying in the wilderness. And again and again has he been cast down and distressed in spirit when thus encountered by prejudice, worldliness, and unbelief.
2. Ezekiel had been made to feel the difficulties arising from the feebleness and insufficiency of the spiritual labourer. It is hard to face a powerful foe; but to do so becomes harder when the warrior is conscious of his own weakness. And this has been the experience of every faithful servant of God. Often has the minister of Christ, overpowered by a sense of his impotence, cried aloud, "Who is sufficient for these things?"
II. CELESTIAL VOICES COME TO REANIMATE, TO COMFORT, AND TO STRENGTHEN THE SERVANT OF GOD. When the prophet was depressed by his experiences and apprehensions, the Spirit lifted him up, and he heard voices from above. Whilst we listen only to the voices of earth, we shall endure distress and discouragement. But if filled with the Spirit, we may hear voices which shall ravish our hearts with joy and inspire them with courage.
1. Celestial voices summon our attention away from man to God. There is a Divine side to our humanity, to our life, our work, and even our sorrows. The spirit of man is capable of apprehending the Divine, and, indeed, only in doing so does it realize the purpose of its existence. God is not far from every one of us; and he is near to all who call upon him in truth.
2. Celestial voices summon us to contemplate the majesty of the Eternal. This is their burden: "Blessed be the glory of the Lord from his place." How poor do earth's pleasures, and how paltry do earth's interests seem, when brought into comparison with the heavenly and eternal! The Hebrew prophets certainly enjoyed a wonderful insight into the majestic attributes of Jehovah. If we will be led by them, they will lead us into the presence, and reveal to us something of the glory, of the Lord of all. Thus may we be freed from bondage to earth's littleness; thus may we learn the true, full lessons of being.
3. Thus earthly trouble may be lost and absorbed in heavenly grandeur. The voice of the rushing, the noise of the wheels, the rustling of the wings, - these appealed to the imagination and touched the spirit of the prophet; and his trials and difficulties shrank into their proper insignificance, when he was conscious of the nearness and of the infinite superiority of the Divine. We may not always be able to reason down our difficulties, to repress our anxieties, to vanquish our temptations. But we may bring all into the presence of Divine visions and Divine voices; and they will assume their just proportions, and God will he the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, of all. - T.
Parallel VersesKJV: Then the spirit took me up, and I heard behind me a voice of a great rushing, saying, Blessed be the glory of the LORD from his place.