The Persistent Energies of God Toward His End (continued)
It was a tremendously costly way for Ezekiel. And that opens up quite a new line. Read through this book and see what it cost the prophet. There was a time when this vision cost the prophet his wife. His young wife died as a sign to Israel, and many other things happened to him which were very painful. It is a costly thing to have the open heaven. The cost may not come to us in the same way, but, believe me, an open heaven involves us in a great deal of suffering. It involves us in the impossibility of being understood by those who have no open heaven. It involves us in persecution from other people of God. That is what it meant to Ezekiel; and, yet, it is worth while! Anybody who has the open heaven would not give it up for anything. They would not give it up for all the popularity in this world. An open heaven is the most precious thing that any man or woman can have - an open heaven is to have this kind of fellowship with God - where God is going on and on showing ever new things.
If you are prepared to accept the cost, then ask the Lord to make it real, but do not be surprised if you have what Ezekiel had very soon after his first vision. He said: "I sat for seven days astonished." When anyone died, no one was clean for seven days. They mourned for seven days, and they were as dead for seven days; (the eighth day is always the day of new life in the Bible), but Ezekiel was like a man dead for seven days - the tremendous effect of vision - it took him through a very painful time. So, do not be surprised if you begin to have a difficult time; now what I mean is this, when we have undertakings with the Lord like this, the Lord usually begins to take us through deep experiences to make it very real. Oh, our flesh does want the vision, our flesh does want the ministry, our flesh want all the glory, but the Lord takes action against our flesh; and we go through a period in which the flesh is brought to death, and then it is quite safe for the ministry. This is true to experience, and this lies right there at the heart of the ministry of Ezekiel.
(continued with # 17 - "The Man Upon the Throne Governs Everything")