Ezekiel / chapter 41 (read the chapter)
I have to say, all of these measurements brought to my mind a scene from the great basketball film, Hoosiers. Have you seen it? It’s based on the story of the high school basketball team from the small, rural town of Milan, Ind., who won the 1954 state championships. Actor Gene Hackman did an outstanding job in his portrayal of coach Norman Dale. Really, if you’ve never seen it, you should find a copy and watch it.
Reading Ezekiel’s laundry list of measurements in this (and the last) chapter reminded me of the scene in Hoosiers where the boys entered the stadium in Indianapolis. There, in the middle of the vast expanse, was the basketball court, surrounded by a veritable sea of seats. Surely, most of those boys had never seen a building that large. It must have been overwhelming and intimidating.
So, what’s the first thing the coach did? He pulled out a measuring tape and had a couple of members from the team measure the distance from the basket to the floor. Then, he had them measure the distance from the free throw line to the basket. After that, he said, “I think you’ll find it’s the exact same measurements as our gym back in Hickory” (the film’s equivalent of Milan).
With that one simple act, the coach diffused much of the team’s nervousness at being in a daunting and unfamiliar place. By demonstrating that the essentials were familiar to them—especially in the midst of what was highly unfamiliar—the coach restored the confidence and focus of his team.
Perhaps it was “reading too much” in to the text, but I saw a little of Coach Dale in God in this chapter, for His people were certainly in an unfamiliar and daunting place. They were frightened, bewildered, and definitely out of their comfort zone. And in the midst of that, God gave them a vision of a restored temple—of something familiar and comforting. He reminded them that, though they were sitting in exile, the essentials had not changed, and what they’d had would be restored to them.
Isn’t this just like God? In every situation—even in the worst of situations that we’ve brought on ourselves!—God is seeking to make us comfortable, to remind us of what’s familiar, and to draw our hearts toward home. When the world we’re faced with is overwhelming, He reminds us of the small, important details, assuring us of His care and concern.
Could we ask for a better Coach?