Thursday, April 13, 2006

There Is No Place God Cannot Go

"As I looked at the living creatures, I saw a wheel on the ground beside each creature with its four faces. This was the appearance and structure of the wheels: They sparkled like chrysolite, and all four looked alike. Each appeared to be made like a wheel intersecting a wheel. As they moved, they would go in any one of the four directions the creatures faces; the wheels did not turn around as the creatures went. Their rims were high and awesome, and all four rims were full of eyes all around. When the living creatures moved, the wheels beside them moved; and when the living creatures rose from the ground, the wheels also rose" (Ezekiel 1:15-19).

There is it. Right in the Bible. Proof of UFOs!

Believe it or not, I've actually heard that. I heard it again last night.

Except it's not real. This didn't really happen; it's a vision.

So, what does the vision mean? I've heard lots of weird explanations. There's even a song most of us are familiar with -- an old negro spiritual. I have no clue how we got the idea that "the little wheel turned by faith, and the big wheel turned by the grace of God." There is no little or big wheel. It's a wheel intersected by another wheel, enabling the platform the four living creatures are carrying -- upon which sits the throne of God -- to travel in any direction (which would make parallel parking a snap!). Oh, and it can lift off the ground like a helicopter.

The first message of the vision is this: The wheels mean there is no place God cannot go.

This would be news to the folks in Ezekiel's day (and some of us as well). They believed that God lived in a particular room in a particular building in a particular city. God lived in the holy of holies in the temple in Jerusalem. He lived there, and he did not live by the Kebar River.

Sometimes we think we've got God all figured out. He lives in certain buildings in certain cities. He does not live in other buildings in those same cities. He lives among people who look and live a certain way. He does not live among other people.

This is good news for some. For the folks at the Kebar River, they would be overjoyed to find out that they've not missing out on having a relationship with God and enjoying his protection and provision just because they're not in Jerusalem. This was good news, indeed.

This is bad news for others. For the folks who were left behind in Jerusalem, they believed they were special -- that God has preserved them because they were better than the others who had been shipped off to other parts of the world. They believed they had a special status because they lived in the right city and were able to visit the right building. They thought they could have hearts full of worms and decay as long as they lived in the right city and went to the right building to do the right rituals. They were in for some bad news, indeed.

Lesson 1 from Ezekiel's vision: There is no place God cannot go.