February 5th, 2018

compass rose

Another Blast from the Past

From the ol' photo archive: Here we are high up on the flanks of Ben Nevis. Actually, we are heading up the mountain track across the knees of the mountain in front of Ben Nevis, since we haven't yet reached the lochan in the saddle between the two mountains. But it's all one big rockpile, so far as that goes.

It was a cold and rainy day. And then it turned to sleet. We were clambering up the scree on the shoulders of Ben Nevis, soaked through, when we gave up and returned so we wouldn't get everyone sick on this, the first of the Three Peaks we were attempting to summit. We squelched in our boots all the way down.

Some days you eat the bear, and some days the bear eats you.

Ben Nevis

Ben Nevis
Crew 699, Three Peaks Trip, 2005
lindisfarne gospels

The Book of Ezekiel: an outline

The first task when faced with a new and challenging text is to survey its contents. Toward that end, the best approach is to outline it. This I have done, paragraph by paragraph. After that, however, comes figuring out the minor sections -- the episodes or visions or messages. And then these episodes need to be grouped into major sections, which show the overall plan of the work. The following outline shows the major and minor sections of the Book of Ezekiel (but not the individual paragraphs, whose number would cause us to get lost in endless detail).

First section: Ezekiel begins his ministry
Ezekiel, one of those taken hostage to Babylonia when Jerusalem surrendered to Nebuchadrezzar, is called five years later to prophecy about the judgment of Israel
1:1-28 The Lord appears in glory
2:1-3:21 Ezekiel’s call
3:22-5:17 Ezekiel to act out the destruction of Jerusalem
6:1-7:27 The Lord pronounces inescapable doom upon Israel

Second section: A series of visions over the next year
The leaders of the people back in Judah remain both corrupt and convinced that they can connive their way out of their difficulties
8 Ezekiel sees the hidden evil of the leaders of Israel
9 The Lord summons executioners to carry out judgment – and a scribe
10 The vision of glory
11 The Spirit brings Ezekiel to the elders, who do not repent

Third section: The Judgment of Israel
The Lord reveals that Israel shall go into exile, and the nation as it now is shall not survive
12:1-20 Ezekiel to act out what it means to be an exile
12:21-28 The time is now!
13 Prophecy against the prophets
14:1-11 Don’t inquire of the Lord with evil in your hearts
14:12-23 A hint that some may survive the exile
15 Jerusalem will be as firewood
16 The abominations of Jerusalem
17 The Riddle of the Eagle
18 The denial of the Proverb about Sour Grapes

Fourth section: Interlude
In which grief for the loss of Israel is shared
19 A lamentation over the princes of Israel

Fifth section: The Lord summons the King of Babylon
Jerusalem will be destroyed like Samaria
20:1-44 The idolatry of Israel
20:45-49 Prophecy against Negeb
21:1-22:16 Babylon will be brought against Israel
22:17-22 Israel is dross to be melted down
22:23-31 No righteous man to be found
23 The Two Harlots
24 Babylon besieges Jerusalem, and Ezekiel mourns his wife

Sixth section: The Fate of Nations
The neighbors of Israel will be conquered, too. In the second half of this section, Ezekiel prophesies the restoration of Israel; his vision seems to include both near elements and far-future, apocalyptic elements
25 Israel’s enemies will not enjoy her downfall
26:1-28:19 The Doom of Tyre
28:20-26 Sidon lamented
29-32 The Doom of Egypt
33:1-20 Ezekiel the watchman
33:21-33 Jerusalem is conquered
34 Prophecy against the shepherds of Israel
35 Prophecy against Mt. Seir
36:1-15 The Lord will bring his people home
36:16-37:6 For the sake of his name, the Lord will make the desolation like Eden
37:7-14 The Valley of Dry Bones
37:15-28 Rejoining Israel and Judah under David for ever
38-39 God summons Gog to destruction

Seventh section: The restored temple and nation
This vision is given some years after the destruction of Jerusalem. The Temple is measured and the life of the restored people is set out. How much of this was intended to be actually carried out and how much is, like the vision of the City of God in Revelation, an encoded message about the ultimate restoration of Israel, is a matter for debate; certainly, when Ezra and Nehemiah rebuilt the Temple – or when the Maccabees refounded the kingdom – no such plan was carried out.
40-42 The Temple is measured
43:1-45:8 The glory of God comes to the temple
45:9-47:12 The ordering of the people’s activity
47:13-48:35 The boundaries of the land
compass rose

More memories

Here's a pic from our first big Conference-sponsored Scouting mission trip. I took a team of sixteen youth and adults to Tanzania to lead a Scouting Ministry leadership seminar in Kigoma, on the banks of Lake Tanganyika. Afterwards, we did a little touring. We stayed at a camp run by the Tanzanian Ministry of Education in Mikumi National Park for a couple of days and did a little safari. I took this picture right outside our dormitory.

Twilight at Mikumi NP, Tanzania 2001

Twilight at Mikumi National Park, Tanzania
Trip of the Millennium, 2001