“They alone are to enter my sanctuary; they alone are to come near my table to minister before me and perform my service.”
~ Ezekiel 44:16
Hi James and Ellen,
What do you think that it means for a guy, gal or kid to recommit his or her life to God? Ask your dad and/or ma if they have ever recommitted their lives to God. Your grandpaa recommitted his life to God not long after he began going to the Christian & Missionary Alliance Church in Aberdeen, South Dakota. When Don McKaughn – an invited deeper life speaker, pointed a finger right at your grandpaa at one point during a message that he was giving from the Esther Book and said ‘if you say that you are a Christian, why aren’t you acting like one’, your grandpaa knew that what Don McKaughn had just said was true. Your grandpaa was sitting with your grandmaa on the back pew – which is where your grandpaa still likes to sit today during a church service, when Don McKaughn pointed a finger at him. Your grandpaa during the weeklong evening services was finding what Don McKaughn was teaching from the Esther Book really interesting. Your grandpaa was not expecting though to suddenly have a finger being pointed right at him and . . . your grandpaa knows that Don McKaughn had not wittingly or intentionally chose or signaled out your grandpaa as a guy who had not been acting like how a Christ-follower guy should always act – as Don McKaughn had not yet personally met your grandpaa; Don McKaughn just knew that every Christ-follower guy, gal and kid needs to recognize his or her sinfulness and the need to completely turn over his or her life to God. When he was a young guy, your grandpaa was taught and he had to memorize the answers to the questions in the Heidelberg Catechism. When she was a young gal, your grandmaa was taught and she had to memorize the answers to the questions in the Westminster Confession of Faith. Your grandmaa and grandpaa had made public professions of their faith in front of guys, gals and kids who went to the same church that your grandmaa and grandpaa went to when they were kids. When your grandpaa heard Don McKaughn say what he said – which your grandpaa really felt was being directed right at him, your grandpaa did not do anything proactively – like going to the front of the church or standing up or . . . your grandpaa knew though that he could be a lot more faithful in his Christ-follower walk, a lot more careful with the words that he was using and a lot more willing to do whatever God asked him to do. That short fleeting moment that took place nearly 34 years ago when your grandpaa recommitted his life to God (which is now about 50 years ago as of the editing of this missive) began an improbable odyssey for your grandmaa, grandpaa, dad and Aunt Connie that has had them literally experiencing what it is like to have to be completely dependent on God’s sovereign divine help. Your grandpaa would remember years later the moment one summer evening in 1961 when he got on his knees after reading a devotional verse to tell God that he believed everything that was written in the Bible and that he wanted to give his life back to God for God to use his life for whatever purpose that He wanted to use it for. Your grandpaa about three months later would meet your grandmaa and . . .
Ezekiel 44 is God showing Ezekiel – who was one of God’s prophet spokesmen to the Israelite people group guys and gals – who were God’s specially chosen guys and gals, what His temple worship would be like the day when God’s specially chosen guys and gals recommitted their lives back to Him. God used a guy in a vision to show Ezekiel what His sanctuary in the city of Jerusalem will look like when that day takes place when God’s specially chosen guys and gals recommit their lives back to God. The guy in Ezekiel’s vision took Ezekiel to the outer gate on the east side of the sanctuary. Ezekiel saw in his vision that the outer gate was sealed shut. The guy in Ezekiel’s vision told Ezekiel that the outer gate was to remain sealed shut. Sealing the outer gate shut was how God would keep His specially chosen guys and gals from worshipping the sun.
God expects His specially elected guys, gals and kids to worship Him. When God – as God the Son, allowed Himself to be hung and nailed to a cross – on which the death of His body defeated death as a ransom payment and the pouring out of His blood atoned for the sins of His specially elected guys, gals and kids, a worship package that was built on works was annulled and a new worship paradigm that centered on justified grace was instituted. About 850 years before Ezekiel had the vision that he is now having, God passed on to Moses on Mount Sinai a works centered worship package. God is telling Ezekiel in the vision that He is giving him, that He is going to reinstitute a new worship paradigm but for now He is going to expect His specially chosen guys and gals to follow through the works worship norms exactly the way that were to take place in His sanctuary. God expected His specially chosen guys and gals to recommit to serving Him or He would exile His specially chosen guys and gals to a country where they would live without hope and His guidance. When the guy in Ezekiel’s vision took Ezekiel to the north gate, Ezekiel could see inside the sanctuary where he saw that the sanctuary was filled with God’s glorious presence. Even in a vision, the sight of God’s awesome presence caused Ezekiel to fall face down in wonder at Who he saw. God was emphatic through the guy who was guiding Ezekiel through his vision that He expected His specially chosen guys and gals to keep His sanctuary holy, that He would not permit His sanctuary to be defiled and that He expected the Levite tribal clan priests – the sons of Zadok, to do what He had mandated them to do. Verse 16 says, “They alone are to enter my sanctuary; they alone are to come near my table to minister before me and perform my service.” God expects a guy, gal and kid to genuinely commit his or her life to Him for Him to use for His purpose.
Ezekiel 44 (741)