Monday, September 17, 2012

Can’t Drive Out the Way We Drove in

Ezekiel is a fascinating book in the Old Testament. Hey, you might call it weird. I call it fascinating. There’s room for all of us here.

I love that it is full of imagery and instructions for building the Jewish temple and lots of the religious activities. The other day as I was reading I was reminded of the car license plate holder my daughter used to have. Okay, so you’re right. That is weird.

But not totally weird—hear me out. See, there was this band she liked called They Might Be Giants and she liked one of their songs so much that a friend had the license plate holder custom made for her with the title of that song on it. “Can’t Drive Out the Way We Drove in”.

There were cars in the Old Testament, you’re asking? No, of course not. Although there was a Honda in the New Testament. You know, where it says the disciples were all together in one Accord. 

(crickets chirping loudly)

But seriously, I believe everything in the Bible means something. God gave those instructions for a reason. Most of His reasons may be beyond my comprehension in this world but I am seeing a little picture here that reminded me of that song title. The people are told in chapter 46 verse nine that when they come to the temple to sacrifice, they weren’t to go out the same way they came in. Literally in by the north door and exit through the south and vice versa. I wonder, did those people consider why God gave those instructions? I imagine some of them did. I’m talking more than just crowd control measures, although that's certainly necessary at times. I mean, here they were bringing sacrifices in worship. That had to be pretty significant. After all, sacrifice indicates giving up something valuable. So going out a different door than the one they came in seems more meaningful to me than just some weird thing.

What does it mean for me thousands of years later? Could this also be a foreshadowing of when God gave up something more valuable than anything we could ever give?

Is it possible that when we meet God at that ultimate sacrifice—His son, Jesus, giving up his life on the cross, who counted everything loss for our gain, we receive something even more valuable? I think so. In the victory Jesus Christ had when He exited the tomb, we experience the change from living death to living life. We leave that encounter a different way than we came in.

Having pretty much avoided the church scene for a couple of years and now starting to get back into it, I don’t want to go in the door of a building and come back out, same old same old. It’s my desire that my life exhibit that encounter even better than having it written on my license plate holder. Not in my physical appearance or what I wear or how many church programs I get involved in. But in how I view myself and others and God. Hope that’s not too weird.

Have you had that encounter? In what ways are you different as a result?

                                          An open gate invitation.

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