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August 19 Today’s Reading: Ezekiel 1-4
“The Wheels and Their Work”
Providence is the glorious, though mysterious, sovereign rule of the universe by our great and glorious, ever-gracious Lord God for the salvation of his people and the praise, honor, and glory of his own great name (Romans 8:28; 11:36; Ephesians 1:11). Ezekiel was inspired by God the Holy Ghost to write out the vision God gave him in which he saw God’s providence set before him as wheels moving through the earth. Divine providence is like a wheel in at least three ways.
1st — That part of the wheel that is now on top will soon be on the bottom; and the bottom will soon be on the top. In other words, God brings about drastic, unexpected changes in the lives of men, in the affairs of nations, and in the affairs of this world, as it pleases him. He brings about all the changes we see and experience. It is our God, and he alone, who gives poverty and riches, sickness and health, tranquility and turmoil, fame and ill-repute, peace and war (Isaiah 45:7).
2nd — There is one part of the wheel that is always the same and never turns — The Axle! We undergo many changes. All our lives are checkered with change. But the axle upon which the whole machinery of providence turns is always the same. That axle is God’s everlasting, covenant love and grace (Ezekiel 11:16-20). Rejoice, O my soul, God never changes (Malachi. 3:6). His purpose never changes (Job 23:13). — “He is of one mind, and who can turn him? And what his soul desireth, even that he doeth.” God’s love never changes (John 13:1). His grace never changes (Romans 11:29). And God’s faithfulness never changes (2 Timothy 2:13, 19). – “If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.” – “The foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his.”
3rd — When a wheel moves real fast, the only thing you can see is the exterior circle. Instead of looking at parts of things, we need to look at the whole course of events in history, in our lives, in the affairs of God’s church, and so on. When we look at things as a whole, we see one round circle of symmetry, teaching us that God is wise, and just, and good.
“When they went, they went upon their four sides: and they turned not when they went.” God’s providence, like the wheels Ezekiel saw, is universal, moving through all the earth. Yet, it moves in one direction, and never turns to the right or to the left. All things are moved by our God in one direction. All things work together to accomplish the salvation of God’s elect for the praise, honor, and glory of the Triune Jehovah, God our Savior.
Nothing is more comforting, nothing inspires boldness, and nothing gives peace like a good understanding of and a confident faith in God’s wise, adorable, and good providence. That is the subject of the vision we have read about in these opening chapters of Ezekiel.
God’s prophet was assured, and we are assured that by means, “the wheels and their work,” all God’s elect remnant, scattered among the nations of the earth, all the Israel of God must and shall be saved; and Jerusalem, the New Jerusalem, the City of God, the Church of God’s elect, shall be a city four square, perfect, complete, and fully inhabited by the ransomed of the Lord, to the praise of the glory of his grace (Ezekiel 11:22-23).