Greetings once again friends! This is Episode 22 of the podcast. The title of this week’s episode is “The Great Circle Dance of God.”
In today’s episode, I’ll be continuing our study from last week about being part of God’s team as His ambassadors to our world, including all our relationships every day, whether in the home, among friends, or interacting with other people wherever we may be.
This could possibly be one of the most important messages I could share with you here on the podcast. As I just mentioned, we who have accepted our role as Christ’s ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20), can be confident that the One who has called us into his service will also give us wisdom to rightly represent him.
One day many years ago when I was a student at Walla Walla College, I opened my mailbox located in the lobby of Sittner Hall, the men’s dorm on campus. I discovered a postcard from my sister Beulah Fern who lived in Portland at the time. The message on the card was a quotation of Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (KJV).
Verse 6 in the New Living Translation says, “Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”
And, that really is the message I want to share with you today. Here is the basic idea: Through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we can be directed step-by-step in the best possible way to witness of his grace and allow him to use the influence of our lives to serve his purposes day by day.
Let’s explore that a little more deeply now.
The “preacher” who wrote the Old Testament Book of Ecclesiastes (King Solomon) included a beautiful, timeless poem which could be titled “A Time for Everything.” Among other things on Solomon’s list are these words: “A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance” (Ecclesiastes 3:4).
In the conservative faith community of my childhood and youth, dancing in any form was strictly forbidden! As a result, I never really ever learned to dance, although I did try a few times. Nevertheless, I have been fascinated over the years to witness many types of dancing in greatly diverse cultures around the world.
One of the most universal styles of group dancing is known as circle dancing.
In the biblical story of the Exodus, Moses’ sister Miriam led the women in dancing to celebrate deliverance from the Egyptian army (Exodus 15:20-21). That dance is still performed by groups of Jewish people today.
It seems nearly every indigenous culture in the world has some form of circle dance. I have personally witnessed beautiful cultural circle dances among aboriginal tribes in the mountains of Taiwan. I believe there must be some deeper significance to this than just people having fun. In fact, if we look closely at both the Scripture and nature, we discover some great truths.
Here are a few examples of some cyclical phenomena in nature.
The entire known physical Universe displays cycles of movement. The moon, planets, the sun, even the entire Milky Way galaxy, all revolve in a grand and wonderful dance through the heavens.
Directly related to the earth’s annual circuit around the sun, each season comes and goes at precise times of the year.
Migratory birds and animals follow the exact routes taken by hundreds of preceding generations of their kind—even though the specific individuals may never have traveled that route before.
And, as we study God’s work among his people through the centuries, the Lord instructed the ancient Israelites to memorialize significant events in their history with annual feasts and celebrations. Then Jesus himself instructed the disciples to remember his death and resurrection through the ceremony we now call communion or “the Lord’s Supper.” The Apostle Paul says that by participating in this sacred ceremony we “proclaim the Lord’s death till he comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26).
King Solomon declared, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9).
So, what does all this have to do with our designated role as ambassadors for the Kingdom?
Let’s take a step back and look at one of the most intriguing—even mysterious—chapters in the Bible. Although the visuals described in Ezekiel 1 have often been misunderstood, I have come to believe the “wheels within wheels” vision perfectly describes the work God is doing through his people throughout the world.
Here is Ezekiel’s vision:
“As I looked at the living creatures, I saw a wheel on the ground . . . This was the appearance and structure of the wheels . . . Each appeared to be made like a wheel intersecting a wheel. As they moved, they would go in any one of the four directions the creatures faced; the wheels did not turn about as the creatures went. Their rims were high and awesome, and all four rims were full of eyes [facets] all around. When the living creatures moved, the wheels beside them moved; and when the living creatures rose from the ground, the wheels also rose. Wherever the spirit would go, they would go, and the wheels would rise along with them, because the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.”Ezekiel 1:15-21 (NIV)
This strange vision of Ezekiel’s is best understood by the next scene, just a few verses later:
“Then there came a voice from above the expanse over their heads as they stood with lowered wings. Above the expanse over their heads was what looked like a throne of sapphire, and high above on the throne was a figure like that of a man . I saw that from what appeared to be the waist up he looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and that from there down he looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded him like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him.”Ezekiel 1:25-28 (NIV)
So, here in Ezekiel 1 we see this vision of wheels within wheels, turning, traveling, moving according to the direction of the Spirit. With that graphical description fresh in the reader’s mind, the prophet then paints a fantastic picture of God on his throne high above the earth. This vision is nearly identical to that described by Daniel in chapter 10:4-6,
“On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was standing on the bank of the great river, the Tigris, I looked up and there before me was a man dressed in linen, with a belt of the finest gold around his waist. His body was like chrysolite, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a multitude.”Daniel 10:4-6 (NIV).
John the Revelator also saw a vision of the same divine person:
“I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone ‘like a son of man,’ dressed in in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance”
So, what—or who—did Ezekiel see in his vision connected with the wheels-within-wheels? I believe it was none other than the pre-incarnate Christ directing the movement of his Kingdom ambassadors—the divine Choreographer, if you will—sending each individual on missions of mercy, witness, and service to all the nations of the world. The Great Circle Dance of God is a divine movement carrying the good news of his love, grace, and forgiveness to every soul under heaven. Every believer is commissioned to represent the King in every transaction, every relationship, every word and action. Through the guidance and instruction of the Holy Spirit, we are sent on special assignments to bring hope, encouragement, and blessing to all within our circles of influence.
Here is a reassuring promise from Jesus:
“The Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:25-26 NIV).
Then Jesus followed that promise with this: “When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me” (John 15:26 NIV).
Do you ever feel like you’re just running around in circles? Sometimes we might seriously wonder if our life has any meaning or significance at all. If you’re working at a job, maybe every day feels just like yesterday, and tomorrow promises to be more of the same old, same old routine.
Don’t despair! God can use even your familiar, daily routine to serve his purposes. And that, in fact, is what our life in Christ is all about. It makes little difference whether you are on a mountaintop high in your spiritual journey, or slogging along down in the swampy valley, God is there with you, and will touch the lives of others through you as you give your life to him to use as he sees best. He knows just what steps in the great dance he has designed for you. Following the lead of his Spirit will glorify God and bring great blessings to you as well.
And, you never know when the circumstances of your life may change. As with all circles, “what goes around comes around.” God is in charge of the dance. He opens the path before you step-by-step. David, the shepherd boy wrote, “The Lord . . . leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake” (Psalm 23:1-3 NIV).
Right now, today, the Holy Spirit invites you to join the circle. This circle is filled with agápe love, acceptance, and forgiveness. In the center is a fountain of living water springing forth in endless supply. “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17).
The invitation is open. Come join the dance!
Thank you so much for listening today! I pray you have been blessed.
I hope you can join me for next week’s episode. I’ll be sharing some thoughts from my book, “My Seven Essential Daily Prayers.” Be sure to tune in, and invite someone else to listen with you!
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