Saturday, 22 September 2007

Go out a different way!

This morning part of my reading was Ezekiel 46:9

"When the people of the land come before the LORD at the appointed feasts, whoever enters by the north gate to worship is to go out by the south gate; and whoever enters by the south gate is to go out by the north gate. No one is to return through the gate by which he entered, but each is to go out the opposite gate. "

It reminded me of something our Pastor, Iain Duthie often says or prays,

'That we would not leave this place (church) the same way that we came in'

Iain means that we would come to church, we would truly worship and meet with God, and we would be changed as we become more like him, so that when we leave we would not be the same. Ezekiel on the other hand, is talking about physically not using the same door.

Why did God want the people to use a different door? What did that mean for them?

It amazes me how seemingly mundane things in the Old Testament, were actually planned by God to make New Testament events understandable and familiar:

(Joh 1:29) The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

To us, this is sometimes just a familiar name, but when John the Baptist cried this out, surrounded by Jews they would have been astounded - Lambs were sacrificed to take away sin, frequently as each sin post sacrifice was unaccounted for. Not only was John declaring that this man was to make atonement for their sin, but 'for the sin of the world'. The thoughts running through their minds would have been numerous, How can he save the gentiles? How can a man take away any sins - as only God has such a right? Is this man from God?

The familiarity of the lamb as a sacrifice, caused the Jews both to question Jesus' identity, and helped them to understand it.

The seemingly mundane sacrifice that was done everyday was now of huge importance.
God wants us to be familiar with his word, even the parts that seem repetitive, because it's all there for a reason. Which leads me to my question again.

Why did the people have to go out through a different door? Is there something we can learn here? Was it preparing us to see church as a place where we should come out differently to how we went in spiritually?

I would love to hear your thoughts.


Dave said...

Great post, Jess!

Big question. I'm totally in agreement about the incredible things contained in what we might ordinarily consider mundane.

As for the doors, I think it really fits into what you're saying about being changed. Perhaps it was symbolic of the effort one has to put into applying a message to your life. Presumably, the people would have entered through the door closest to their home. A fairly easy step, in the same way that simply attending church is an easy step.

Then, on the way home, they'd have to leave by the opposite entrance and take a longer trek home. Maybe it was symbolic of the extra effort needed in order to apply a message to our lives? Or simply it gave them more time to consider what they'd heard before going back to their daily lives?

Good question!

~~jess~~ said...

Don't you just love it when you read something, maybe for the fifth or sixth time and out of the blue, God knocks you on the head and says "YOU...wake up! I've been trying to tell you something here for a while now!" Sometimes the knock hurts a bit, but when the swelling goes down, it was always worth it.

I'm glad you are asking that question. It's so important for us to not just blindly read scripture. I like how it wasn't just "ok guys, there's an entrance and an exit, can everyone please get it through their heads which one to use?" He doesn't care which door we come in, as long as we leave through a different door. All too often, church becomes a regular part of my week and I stop expecting anything from it. It is just another thing I can check off my 'to-do' list. It is a very challenging thought that God wants us to make change in our lives on that regular of a basis, and more importantly to change according to his will.

thanks for the post :)

~~jess~~ said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
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