The first few chapters of the book of Ezekiel are astounding in their description of the glory of God. God appears to Ezekiel, who he intends to make a prophet, and shows him multi-headed creatures with wings, fire, wheels, bows, a throne, and the image of his glory.
In verse 2 of Chapter Two, after Ezekiel has finished grasping to find words adequate to explain what it was like, he tells us that he fell on his face in the midst of the glory. And then he says, “the Spirit entered into me and set me on my feet.” It happens again in verse 24 of Chapter Three. God’s glory appears to Ezekiel and, after he falls onto his face, he tells us “the Spirit entered into me and set me on my feet.”
Ezekiel says it happened as if he were a small child. God tells him to stand, but he can’t do it. The glory is too great, and therefore God’s Spirit enters into him and does it for him. This is God providing a way for Ezekiel to see his face. What happened after the Spirit sets him upright? God spoke to him. God wanted Ezekiel to stand so that he could boldly approach his throne.
From Start to Finish
There are other ways that the Holy Spirit enters into us and sets us on our feet. It happens in our own lives today. Before we ever tasted the glory of God, we were on our faces, wallowing in sin. We could not see God because our sin blinded us. But the Holy Spirit entered into us, set us on our feet, and opened our eyes to see Jesus for who he is (2 Corinthians 4:6). The Spirit lifted us and welcomed us into communion with God as his sons and daughters. That’s why it is called the “new birth” (John 3:3).
When hardships happen in life, we may fall on our faces in grief. There is sadness so dark that it blocks us from seeing the truth of God. But even in the darkness, the Spirit enters into us and sets us on our feet. When it may seem as though nothing could ever be strong enough to lift us again, the Spirit can. The Spirit is faithful to bring us into the felt-presence of God by showing us the truth of God’s love and sovereignty and wisdom in tragedy. This is his work of perseverance (2 Corinthians 1:21–22). The Spirit makes us stand from start to finish.
In these and other situations, and with this description in Ezekiel, we can expectantly look forward to the time when the Spirit will set us on our feet in exactly the same way he did with Ezekiel. When Jesus returns, we will be in the full presence of God’s glory, and if it were not for the Spirit then, we wouldn’t be able to take it in.
Jesus is Emmanuel — God with us. He came and lived, died, and was resurrected and ascended so that he could send his Spirit to indwell everyone who embraces him by faith. Jesus came to earth then so that the Spirit would come to us now. And one day, we will be with him in person, by the Spirit’s power, beholding and enjoying the glory of God forever.