Then brought he me the way of the north gate before the house: and I looked, and, behold…
The prophet was brought "the way of the north gate before the house," because it was thence that, on a previous occasion, he had been directed to gaze upon the provision for idolatrous worship which aroused the indignation of Jehovah. Instructions were about to be given which would be the means of preventing a repetition of the infamous defilement of God's holy place which in times past had taken place within the temple precincts. And that a suitable impression might be made, "the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord." It was upon this occasion that the prophet, filled with reverence and awe, fell upon his face.
I. THERE IS MISPLACED REVERENCE.
1. When men revere worldly greatness and splendor.
2. When men revere idols and deities, which are nothing but the work of their own hands and the invention of their own minds.
II. THERE IS JUSTIFIABLE AND BECOMING REVERENCE. Such was that felt and manifested by Ezekiel in the presence of the glory of the Lord.
1. The nature of man is capable of true and profound reverence. There is groveling and degrading homage offered to men or to supposed supernatural powers - homage not worthy to be designated reverence. But man has the capacity of honoring the noblest and the best; and this is among the sublimest capacities of his nature.
2. The attributes, the character, of God deserve such reverence. The more the Eternal is studied, as manifested in his works and in his Word, the mere will it be felt that he is the one fit Object of reverential regard and worship. The admonition of the angel addressed to the seer of the Apocalypse was just and is universally applicable, "Worship God!"
III. THERE IS APPROPRIATE EXPRESSION OF TRUE VENERATION AND ADORATION. A natural manifestation of reverence is that accorded in the text: "I fell upon my face." The attitude of the body and the expression of the countenance are the natural revelation of the deep feelings of awe and veneration. A more articulate expression is the language of prayer and praise, which must indeed always be inadequate, which yet may in all conceivable circumstances be employed by the Church of Christ. All attitudes and all language are vain except as the manifestation of the deep feelings of the heart. Yet it is not possible for men to have a just view of God, to feel aright towards him, without presenting some audible or visible, some manifest expression of such thought and emotion. Man is both soul and body, and the movements, the attitudes, the utterances, of the bodily nature are the expressions of what is intellectual and spiritual. Whilst worship, to be acceptable, must be in spirit and in truth, they who are in the flesh will bow in reverence or kneel in supplication, will pour forth their gratitude in song, and their faith and adoration in petition and in praise. - T.
Parallel VersesKJV: Then brought he me the way of the north gate before the house: and I looked, and, behold, the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD: and I fell upon my face.