When reading prophecy, I usually get distracted by the description of the visions and give up trying to gain any meaning from them because how can I ever actually know what they mean? But today when I started reading Ezekiel, I had the perspective that it is a memoir written by a regular person. Where does Ezekiel start his story? Not with his birth or a description of himself or his occupation. He starts with the major turning point of his life, with the beginning of the period of his life that matters the most to him. He starts with the day that he saw a vision from God.
The Bible is full of memoirs of people describing the most important points in their life to us. And through these stories we see various ways in which God reveals himself to us. We see different ways that these people serve him and follow his directions. It is comforting to me to see such variety. There is not one pattern we are all supposed to look like. Consider David and Solomon, father and son, whose writings are very different. David’s Psalms are saturated with spiritual language and experiences, while Solomon’s are very much concerned with what happens “under the sun” or delivering very practical advice through proverbs. And yet, David was proclaimed to be a man after God’s own heart and Solomon was the wisest man to ever be. This variety is comforting to me in seeking a church family because I am not afraid that there is something wrong with me if I don’t look like the other members of the church or if they don’t look like me. I don’t have to be distracted with how each of us live but can focus on the more important question of what we are pursuing. It is much easier to gain unity through a common goal than through common actions. Any classroom or team sport is an illustration of this. Some people learn by reading, some by seeing, some by moving, some by listening, yet they are all learning. In the New Testament, the analogy of a human body is used to illustrate this point. I’m excited to read the Bible again while looking for and admiring the different ways God reveals himself. And I’m excited to seek unity in the church without the pressure of having to come to agreements with the “how” questions and instead focus on the “what” questions.