Then he said to me, “Son of man, look toward the north.”
Ezekiel 8:5 (NIV)
Wendy and I were driving in the car the other night. As usual, we were having a great conversation about…something…I can’t remember exactly what. Wendy made the observation that one of the reasons she really never dated anyone seriously (until I came along when she was 33) is that no one else she met would have the kinds of conversations we seem to have on a regular basis.
There does seem to be a curious, exploratory conversational nature that the two of us enjoy together. We read the paper each morning and talk about what we’re seeing in the current events of our day. We watch television and talk about what we’re seeing in the stories and themes being presented. We got to church and talk about what we heard in the message, but also what we saw happening in the room around us and how it fits in the context of what we’ve seen happening over time. We go to a movie and talk about what we saw in the writing, the cinematography, the direction, the action, the acting and the characters. We watch sports and talk about what we’re seeing happening with the players, the teamwork, and the momentum shifts of the game.
I know. It sounds draining to most people. For us, it’s life.
With today’s chapter we are entering into one long vision experience that the prophet Ezekiel had which will flow into the following three chapters. The vision has five distinct divisions and today’s chapter is the first section of the vision. God takes Ezekiel on a magical mystery tour of sorts as Ezekiel is lifted into the spiritual realm and taken to Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem. The common theme in this first section of the vision is for Ezekiel to see the extent of the idolatry that’s happening at and in God’s temple:
- “look toward the north.” (vs 5)
- “Do you see what they are doing” (vs 6)
- “You will see things even more detestable” (vs 6)
- “Go in and see….” (vs. 9)
- “Have you seen…?” (vs. 12)
- “Do you see this…?” (vs. 15)
- “Have you seen…?” (vs. 17)
Which brings me back to Wendy and me and the fact that even our friends laugh at us always tearing things apart and dissecting them in conversation. “Can’t you just sit and enjoy the movie?” But the enjoyment for me comes, in part, by truly seeing the movie. As with people, there’s always a lot more going on than you see on the surface and I never want to be caught blind (although I’m pretty sure we can’t help but have our own blind spots, but that’s a another conversation).
I am reminded this morning of Jesus quoting the prophet Isaiah:
“In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: ‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.'”
Today, I’m continuing my quest to hear, to see, and to perceive.