By Not Known

Where do you look in times of trouble?

Sometimes we look around us and see the overwhelming nature of our troubles
and the threat they pose. This may paralyse us with fear.

Sometimes we look inside ourselves and see our lack of ability to solve our own
problems. That may paralyse us with despair.

Both the prophecy of Ezekiel and the book of Revelation were written to troubled
people. Ezekiel was written in the post – 597 BC setting after Israel had been
invaded and conquered and many of the people carted off to exile as slaves in
Babylon. Revelation was written late in the first century AD, when the Roman
Emperor had delusions of divinity and persecuted Christians because they would
not worship him.

Both these were situations where looking around or looking in brought bad news.
No amount of positive thinking or motivational messages could disguise the threat
to God’s people. No amount of self-help could deliver them from such
overwhelming force.

Where can we look in our times of trouble?

Today’s morning and evening sermons come from Ezekiel 1 and Revelation 4
respectively. The two passages are quite parallel and Revelation probably draws
on some imagery from Ezekiel 1. Both tell of heaven being opened and the writer
allowed to seek inside.

Both Ezekiel and John report a majestic vision of God. Ezekiel’s vision moves up
from a powerful thunderstorm, to strange creatures in a fire, up again to a vast
expanse and up even further to a throne on which our majestic God is seated.
Revelation focuses more immediately on the throne scene, with a vision of God
surrounded by creatures who sing of his worth to receive glory, honour and power.
Both passages are packed with difficult imagery, but the overall message is clear:
God rules. Not surprisingly, both passages end with worship.

Where should we look in times of trouble?

We should look up to God who holds all things in his hands and moves all things to
his purposes. And, having looked up, we should then come in prayerful
dependence seeking God’s provision for our needs. And then, we should join
heaven in praise and worship.