I was reading through the first few chapters of Ezekiel this morning. If you've never taken the time to just read Ezekiel, you really should, because the man was... well, the man was completely sold out for God. And I mean completely. I have no doubt that even in his day and age, the man was considered a bit nuts. But I'll tell you what, he had some serious conversations and time with God. I mean, Ezekiel was literally moved by God from one spot to another. He did everything God asked of him without hesitation, and he's really just fascinating to read about. I noticed something this morning though, that I don't know if I would have noticed if I wasn't also in the middle of the gospels with my daily Bible reading. In the book of Ezekiel, both God and angels sent from God call Ezekiel the "son of man". Many times in fact, he is referred to as the son of man.
"And he said to me, "Son of man, listen carefully and take to heart all the words I speak to you. 11 Go now to your countrymen in exile and speak to them. Say to them, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says,' whether they listen or fail to listen." Ezekiel 3:10,11
Now fast forward several hundred years and see what Jesus has to say:
"For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. " Matthew 12:40
"But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins...." Then he said to the paralytic, "Get up, take your mat and go home." Matthew 9:6
God himself called Ezekiel the son of man, and Jesus described himself often throughout the gospels as the Son of Man. I just keep thinking about this, this morning, and I can't help but think that Ezekiel was just a man, a human being, just like you or I. And while Jesus was also the Son of God, before he was crucified and raised to life again, he was just a man as well. And then I read verses like this one, and I think, my goodness, all things really are possible!
"O unbelieving and perverse generation," Jesus replied, "how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me." 18Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed from that moment.
19Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, "Why couldn't we drive it out?"20He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." Matthew 17:17-20
And then as I'm thinking on this, and thinking about how many times Jesus points the way to how the impossible is actually possible, I'm also wondering what is the difference between Ezekiel and I. What is the difference between Paul and I. What is the difference between Daniel and I? Well, I find that answer right here in the book of Daniel.
"Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before. " Daniel 6:10
Every day, Daniel spent time with God. Three times a day in fact, he was praying and spending time with God. And I'll bet that the three times a day he spent in prayer was not a quick little prayer in passing. I'm going to bet that the three times a day he spent in prayer was closer to three hours at least. Daniel sacrificed much of the time he had every day to simply spend time talking to God. There lies the crux of the difference between myself and these men of God. They were willing to put in the time. The were willing to give up some of their precious hours of every day to spend time with God. I think of all the times that we hear about a person feeling like they're being called to ministry or maybe they're willing to be a missionary and go out into the world, but then you ask them about their time with God, and they give you a deer in the headlights look. I'm talking about something so much more than a daily devotion time- something much deeper and more committal than reading a chapter in my Bible and saying a quick prayer.
I'm certainly not saying that quick prayers and devotions are a bad thing, but this really causes me to think this morning. If I think that God is trying to get through to me about something... if I think that maybe God has some grander plans for my life, then maybe it's time that I give him some of that time that Daniel and Ezekiel and Jesus did. We are so caught up in the world of the clock, we always have this to do by this time, someplace to be by this time. What if, just for a time every day, I chose to just turn away from the clock and stop letting it tell me what to do. These days, time seems to be one of the most precious things we have. When all is said and done, and I get to heaven, do I want to hear from God how he had so many more plans for me, but that I chose to spend my time doing something else? How I chose to spend my evenings in front of the TV or the computer instead of just listening to Him?
The Bible is just so full of examples of men and women waiting on the Lord. Imagine how much brighter our world could be if even just a handful more of us would give the gift of time.