Okay. I have to admit I wondered why I had got up early in the morning to read this particular passage. A few verses in I queried why this was even in the Bible. Then I questioned the whole idea of reading through the Bible in a year. After all, why bother reading Ezekiel when I could be reading about Jesus healing the sick? Or the disciples taking the Roman Empire by storm? And would my life be any less complete if I gave Ezekiel a miss entirely?
If you are feeling disappointed by my early morning attitude or affronted by my disrespect for scripture, read the following, imagining you are reading it in a dark, early morning in late autumn:
Then the man led me northward into the outer court and brought me to the rooms opposite the temple courtyard and opposite the outer wall on the north side. 2 The building whose door faced north was a hundred cubits long and fifty cubits wide. 3 Both in the section twenty cubits from the inner court and in the section opposite the pavement of the outer court, gallery faced gallery at the three levels. 4 In front of the rooms was an inner passageway ten cubits wide and a hundred cubits long. Their doors were on the north. 5 Now the upper rooms were narrower, for the galleries took more space from them than from the rooms on the lower and middle floors of the building. 6 The rooms on the top floor had no pillars, as the courts had; so they were smaller in floor space than those on the lower and middle floors. 7 There was an outer wall parallel to the rooms and the outer court; it extended in front of the rooms for fifty cubits. 8 While the row of rooms on the side next to the outer court was fifty cubits long, the row on the side nearest the sanctuary was a hundred cubits long. 9 The lower rooms had an entrance on the east side as one enters them from the outer court. Ezekiel 42.1-9
That’s for starters. The rest of the chapter is more of the same.
Thankfully, Ezekiel 42 eventually gives way to Ezekiel 43. Ezekiel 43 is a wonderful chapter that heralds the return of the glory and presence of God to His temple. It’s a chapter packed with prophetic, indeed messianic, symbolism and imagery. In short, it’s the sort of stuff you want to read.
By the time I had reached chapter 43 I was making a mental note to skip chapter 42 next time – if there was a next time.
And then I was struck by a thought: there must be a reason that chapter 42 is included. And there must be a reason that it precedes chapter 43. I can tell you are impressed by the dazzling logic.
That thought led to this thought: before God’s glory came back to the temple, a lot of detailed – and yes perhaps boring – preparation had to take place.
And then this thought: if we want to host God’s presence and glory we have to be prepared to do a lot of mundane, perhaps boring, detailed preparation. Emails. Spreadsheets. Cleaning the house to host your connect group. Phone calls. What seems like endless meetings.
Often we think those kinds of things are just necessary or even unnecessary evils that get in the way of the main business of ministry. In fact the reverse might be the case. Those “kinds of things” might actually make a way for the main business of ministry.
Perhaps it’s Ezekiel 42 kind of stuff is what takes us to Ezekiel 43 kind of experience – the kind of experience we all want.There is a reason that chapter 42 precedes chapter 43. The one is not complete without the other.
And will I keep reading Ezekiel? yes, I will keep reading Ezekiel. Even chapter 42.