Today’s Reading: Ezekiel 16:42-17:24 (additional reading: Psalm 106:13-31 & Proverbs 27:7-9)
This past weekend in the UK was bonfire night and if you live here many of you would have watched fireworks, and if you weren’t watching them, then you probably heard them. Fireworks were invented in China during the first thousand years after Christ, Chinese scientists discovered gunpowder and thereafter fireworks. Chinese kings were given fireworks as a form of tribute. Today, Chinese people set off fireworks to express their happiness and to invite good luck into their lives.
Today in the Word of God, the prophet Ezekiel talks about something similar to fireworks, and here is the comparison. With fireworks, it’s always amazing to me that one of those little rockets could give off so much light and so much noise. One little rocket – it doesn’t seem like much as it sits in the box – there doesn’t seem to be much to it. But wait and see – when it’s lit off, it lights up the night sky and gives off a boom that you can hear for miles.
God describes himself as a gardener planting a tree. He plants a small shoot onto a high mountain. God finishes his work, brushes off his hands, and walks away. It doesn’t look like much – just a small green stalk sitting by itself on top of a high mountain. Not very impressive. Ezekiel talks about something that seems small and insignificant. But wait and see – it becomes something much greater than you would ever expect. But what God is talking about here is Christ, and the Christian church. When Jesus was born, he didn’t look like much – a tiny baby born to a poor Middle Eastern family. And as Jesus carried out his ministry, he didn’t look like much. Sometimes he would perform a miracle, but most of the time he talked about things that people didn’t care about – he talked about repentance and faith and the life to come. And when Jesus died on he cross, he didn’t look like much – very unimpressive, as he died between two common criminals on a Friday afternoon. His early followers didn’t look like much either – a group of uneducated fishermen who didn’t fit in with the rest of society. One needs to wait and see.
God plants that stalk, and it doesn’t look like much as it sits on top of a high mountain. But you must wait and see – eventually it becomes the greatest, most amazing tree in all the world.
The secret to seeing God’s greatness is focusing on things you cannot see, and focusing on the future. God does things that seem small in our eyes, to begin with. But the things that God does turn out to be the greatest, most amazing things we could ever imagine.