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2. Things Seen in One Quiet Corner
In a Garden
He was a young fellow, a Jew. That is, he was of the old Hebrew stock commonly known to-day as Jews (Ezekiel 1).
He was about thirty, in his early thirties, likely. He was an exile, a forced exile, far from his home and homeland. And he felt it keenly.
Everything in his surroundings was so new and strange. And so much of it was repulsive to him, morally repulsive, to an acute, hurting degree.
He was one of a colony of exiles. And that made things so much worse. The depressing circumstances and atmosphere were intensified by mere numbers.
There were so many of them. The very atmosphere was both contagious and infectious, both the touch and the air breathed. The group atmosphere tended to intensify the depression of each one.
And this was all their own doing. It was the traitory of his people that had beaten down the road for their feet into this forced exile. This young fellow felt this very keenly.
They had been clear, dead wrong, these kinsfolk of his, his fellow exiles, in being untrue to Jehovah, and the true Jehovah worship. And all this bitter exile was the direct outcome of it. It was the logical sequence of their conduct, their obdurate, traitory. He felt it all into the very marrow of his spirit. It hurt into the quivering quick.
He was brooding now over all this, as he had been doing so much. Maybe he was in the bit of garden back of the house where he had his lodgings. The Jews were given to gardening, to the outdoor life, and the cultivation of the soil.
It would be a good garden so far as the soil went. Very likely good Euphratean loam, in this rich lowland area, fertilized his garden patch, and gave good return for his digging and ploughing and pruning.
Gardens have ever been favourite Quiet Corners with choice folk. The first trysting place with God was in a garden. That was before that tragic break. The garden back of that whitewashed stone cottage in Nazareth was likely one of Jesus' favourite Quiet Corner spots.
A Garden is a lovesome thing, God wot;
So one day this young fellow was in his garden, brooding, digging; brooding in spirit, digging in the rich soil. His spirit reached out and up to God. He yearned to understand. He yearned that these things, dead wrong, should be set right.
Fern'd grot --
The veriest school
Of peace; and yet the fool
Contends that God is not --
Not God! In gardens! When the eve is cool!
Nay, but I have a sign;
'Tis very sure God walks in mine.
(Thomas Edwin Brown)
He was really praying, wordlessly praying. His spirit reached out to God, yearningly, pleadingly, reverently, insistently, hungrily. Quite likely he had been conning over one of the old sacred rolls, maybe Exodus, that told of deliverance from an earlier forced exile. Maybe it was the bit that told of the sacred Mount where God Himself had spoken.
Deep in thought, he was breathing in the spirit of the written Word. He was meditating, chewing the cud, absorbing the fine meat and juice of it, when something happened. His eyes were opened. He saw "visions of God," really visions of the Unseen, given him by God.
It was really that his spirit eyes were opened. He saw some things unseen before. They were there all the while. Now his eyes are opened to see them.
The Storm-Swept Earth
The first thing his eyes were opened to see was that the earth was being swept and swamped by a great storm.
The earth was the centre of the storm. This is most striking, the earth is the central point of interest in what his eyes are opened to see.
At the present hour the attention of the scientific world is centred on the earth, and on the universe of which the earth is a part.
The earth may not be the material centre of the Universe. The Bible says nothing about this. Outstanding scientists have split even on that point.
Alfred Wallace was the co-author with Darwin of the revival of the age-old teaching of organic evolution to explain the origin of human life.
He said that the recurrent movement of the starry heavens made it clear to him that the earth was the centre of the Universe, materially.
The globular shape of the earth is constantly referred to in Scripture. But it is always done in a most casual way as though a bit of commonplace knowledge.
The common Authorized Version of the English Bible indicates this on the first page of Genesis. It is pointed out in telling about that first day. Part of the earth was dark. There it was called night-time.
And part was light, and that was called day time. This, of course, is the familiar commonplace that the daily revolution of the earth on its axis makes night-time on one half, and day time on the opposite half, with the twilight zone between.
But while the Scripture says nothing about the earth as the material centre of the universe it constantly assumes that it is the moral centre. The eyes of all intelligences, of the upper and the lower worlds, are glued intently on events taking place here.
The first thing this young exile is conscious of is the earth itself. This is the simple and natural thing, and yet of intensest interest in the light of the whole story he tells.
Then it becomes of tense interest to note that, is his spirit vision, the earth is a storm centre. It is a great storm, a wind and lightning storm. The wind has the intensity of whirlwind, cyclonic, a great whirling maelstrom of wind. The lightning. is flashing continuously.
There is a central point to the fire. The fire is so intense, and great in extent, that there is a brilliant glow of light dominating the whole scene. It's a great whirlwind-lightning storm, enveloping the whole earth, as Ezekiel looks on with awe-stricken gaze.
This storm seems to be of tense significance in this spirit vision. A storm is produced by two areas of temperature coming into contact. The two areas are of sharply different temperatures, and so the contact at once makes a conflict.
Really the storm is an equalizing process. It's a struggle for the upper hand. The two areas of temperature can't exist together in touch. One must give in. The other gets the control of the area affected. So it comes to dominate.
And so the storm clears. And the rainbow comes. The rainbow is the result of the sunlight shining through the thinning out, vaporous moisture of the storm-beclouded area.
The rainbow means two things, a recent storm, and the storm now clearing, and practically quite cleared.
There is really a key to these storms of the Book of God. The Book contains its own keys. It's a matter of finding, and then fitting them into locks to be opened.
That storm key is back in the remarkable Book of Exodus, the "way-out" Book. That Book tells of the getting out of the Egyptian prison into the new life of freedom.
It's back in the bit marked off in our English Bibles as chapter nineteen of Exodus. There God Himself comes into direct intimate touch with these freed people.
He Himself draws nearer to them. He lets them see Himself, that is, so far as they can, without being clean stone-blinded by the dazzling glory of His mere presence.
His coming down into this intimate touch causes a storm on the earth, centring in the Mount. There were thunders and lightnings and a thick cloud.
That is to say, the immediate presence of God, coming thus down into the moral atmosphere surrounding the earth produced these outer physical evidences of a storm.
It is most striking, merely as a bit of side study, to note the storms of John's Revelation. That climax Book is really a revealing of our Lord Jesus in action some day.
It is a description of Him as He intervenes to salvage the race, and the earth, at some future time. That Exodus storm bit becomes a key to the storms of this end book. There are four mentions here of the storm, and each is intenser than the one before.
This is the second bit in what this young Jew saw as his spirit eyes were opened. The earth was shrouded deep in a great storm.
The Crystal Clear Above
The third bit becomes of tensest interest. There is a distinct limit to the storm area. Above the storm area it is clear.
The English word "firmament" is used in our common versions. The word underneath really means an expanse, a cleared space.
That is, there is a clear space above the storm, and beyond it. The storm has distinct limits. It is characteristically an earth storm.
The words used to describe this clear area are striking. It is so clear that it inspires a deep sense of awe.
A clear space above, and a tense quiet there, is in such sharp contrast with the stormy earth that young Ezekiel is hushed into a deep reverent awe.
For us folk to-day, living down on the stormswept, storm-engulfed earth, this becomes most significant. There is a boundary line to the storm. It stops at a certain limit. It doesn't go beyond that invisible limiting fence. It cannot. This is the third bit to note, the clear above the storm.
Then note closely, in this clear expanse there is a throne. This is most significant. A throne is a seat of control, absolute, autocratic control. Characteristically, back through history, a throne is the centre and source of power, actual power, autocratic authority.
A flood of soft, clear, clearing light comes to one's spirit eyes in tracking out the throne bits in this old Book, in their setting each time.
Back through history, there is no higher power nor authority than is expressed by that word "throne". Characteristically the throne is supreme.
There is no appeal from its decision. It stands for the very highest, the utmost power.
And if that power is swayed by love, actually the conception fairly staggers one's imagination. In the thick of to-day's common run of things, down on this old earth, this is indeed staggering, a blessed staggering.
Yet -- yet, this is the common teaching in this old Book of God, about Him that "sitteth on the throne". This is the fourth bit seen, by the spirit-opened eyes, down by the little canalized Chebar.
This page Copyright © 2002 Peter Wade. The Bible text in this publication, except where otherwise indicated, is from the King James Version. This article appears on the site: http://www.peterwade.com/.
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