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This is lesson is part of the “What’s in the Bible?” series, starting with “Memories & Stories” on Genesis

For The Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta

By Sally Ulrey

Key verse: Ezekiel 1:16-18; 2 Chronicles 16:9

“Each appeared to be made like a wheel intersecting a wheel…and they were full of eyes all around”
“The eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him”

 To understand the book of Ezekiel as showing that God is still on the move, unlimited by the
fact that God’s people were in exile far away
 To learn a little bit about what’s in Ezekiel
 To apply the idea of an all seeing, unlimited God to our own lives, and lift up our own
troubles and worries to God’s care, trusting that God is still moving
The Set up: Minimal
The Plan:
 Hook: Drawing Descriptions (15 mins)
o Read descriptions of things and have the youth draw what they hear
 Book: Overview of Ezekiel (10 mins)
o Go over some of the historical context (exile) of Ezekiel and the main ideas of the book
 Look: Eyes to See (25 mins)
o Create a collaborative art project that includes the things we need God to “see” trusting that
God is moving to act even when we can’t see
 Took: Give me Your Eyes (10 mins)
o Prayer that we can have God’s eyes to see others and their needs in the world
The Supplies: The Preparation:
 Copy of lesson  Print and copy everything (eye shapes page)
 Butcher Paper/Post-It Flip Chart Paper  Read Scripture and get familiar with the mini-
 Tape lecture
 Map of Israel  Tape up butcher paper (approx. 8’ x 4’+)
 Markers (big sharpies in lots of colors work best)  Draw the Map of Israel somewhere
 Copies of Eye Shapes  Listen to “Give me Your Eyes” by Brandon
 Scissors Heath and set up AV Equipment:
 Paper & colored pens/pencils/crayons

 Bibles
 AV Equipment

“Eyes All Around” (Ezekiel)

by Sally Ulrey for the Diocese of Atlanta
ABOUT THE LESSON: Ezekiel and other Jews were deported to Babylon in 597 BC (the second deportation; the
first was in 605 BC) after Jerusalem rebelled against them (they were Babylon’s vassals at the time) One of the
themes of Ezekiel was that this deportation could not thwart God, and that God was still on the move, was still
working, and, as Sovereign God of all creation, was not limited to being God just in Jerusalem, but was with
them and working on their behalf, even in Babylon. Much of the book was written to encourage the
deportees that God was still at work on their behalf. The bottom line take-away of the book of Ezekiel is that
God is still moving, still seeing, and is unlimited by distance, time, or other nations.

Drawing Descriptions (Hook, 15 mins)

For the opening of the lesson, you’ll read a description and have the youth draw a picture of what’s being
described, (the weird and crazy vision of Ezekiel ch 1), which we’ll then unpack and learn about the symbolism
there. Later, we’ll use their drawings to put together a collaborative work of art on the butcher paper, that
depicts the creatures and wheels full of eyes from this opening activity, as well as the things they need to lift
up to God and ask God to “see” (God does see, obviously, but we still need to remind God about things
sometimes). Spend about 10 mins drawing, 3 mins looking at pictures, and 2 mins with the discussion

 Pass out paper and all the colored pens/pencils/crayons
 Instruct the youth that you will be describing something, and they need to try to draw what you
describe as best they can.
 Read the following passage from Ezekiel chapter 1 (next page), pausing to let them draw things…
 After they’ve completed their drawings, have them share what they look like with each other
 Share some of these images that other artists have created trying to depict this scene from Ezekiel 1:
o (There is a theory that angels were actually aliens in UFOs. The History Channel has a whole
program called “Ancient Aliens” exploring the theory that weird things like this were actually visits from extraterrestrials)

Quick Large Group Discussion Questions:

1. What did you find challenging about trying to draw this description?
2. This is the first chapter from the book of Ezekiel. What do you think is going on here? What is this
trying to tell us, do you think?

Transition: Through this really weird vision that God gives to Ezekiel, God is actually trying to give a reassuring
message of hope to the Israelites who have been conquered, deported, and are living in Babylon in exile…
Let’s unpack it!

“Eyes All Around” (Ezekiel)

by Sally Ulrey for the Diocese of Atlanta
Drawing Descriptions …Continued (Hook, 15 mins)
1 In my thirtieth year, in the fourth month on the fifth day, while I was among the exiles by the Kebar
River, the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God….
I looked, and I saw a windstorm coming out of the north—an immense cloud with flashing lightning and
surrounded by brilliant light. The center of the fire looked like glowing metal, 5 and in the fire was what looked
like four living creatures. In appearance their form was human, 6 but each of them had four faces and four
wings. 7 Their legs were straight; their feet were like those of a calf and gleamed like burnished bronze. 8 Under
their wings on their four sides they had human hands. All four of them had faces and wings, 9 and the wings of
one touched the wings of another. Each one went straight ahead; they did not turn as they moved.
Their faces looked like this: Each of the four had the face of a human being, and on the right side each had the
face of a lion, and on the left the face of an ox; each also had the face of an eagle. 11 Such were their faces. They
each had two wings spreading out upward, each wing touching that of the creature on either side; and each had
two other wings covering its body. 12 Each one went straight ahead. Wherever the spirit would go, they would
go, without turning as they went. 13 The appearance of the living creatures was like burning coals of fire or like
torches. Fire moved back and forth among the creatures; it was bright, and lightning flashed out of it. 14 The
creatures sped back and forth like flashes of lightning.
As I looked at the living creatures, I saw a wheel on the ground beside each creature with its four faces. 16 This
was the appearance and structure of the wheels: They sparkled like topaz, and all four looked alike. Each
appeared to be made like a wheel intersecting a wheel. 17 As they moved, they would go in any one of the four
directions the creatures faced; the wheels did not change direction as the creatures went. 18 Their rims were high
and awesome, and all four rims were full of eyes 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.20 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. 21 When the creatures moved, they also
moved; when the creatures stood still, they also stood still; and when the creatures rose from the ground, the
wheels rose along with them, because the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.
Spread out above the heads of the living creatures was what looked something like a vault, sparkling like
crystal, and awesome.
Above the vault over their heads was what looked like a throne…on the throne was a figure like that of a
man. 27 I saw that from what appeared to be his 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. 28 Like the appearance of a rainbow in
the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the
glory of the LORD. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

“Eyes All Around” (Ezekiel)

by Sally Ulrey for the Diocese of Atlanta
Overview of Ezekiel (Book, 10 mins)
In this section, you’ll unpack the symbolism of ch 1, briefly look at some of the background for when Ezekiel
was preaching, as well as what’s in the book and how it is structured.
 LEADER TIP: You will want to look over the Scripture passages and Mini-Lecture in advance to be
familiar with what all is in Ezekiel.

 Have them open their Bibles to Ezekiel; instruct them to peruse the chapter titles while you’re talking
 Go over the Mini-Lecture

Mini-Lecture (10 mins, refer to the Map of Israel, as needed)

BACKGROUND: For YEARS, Israel was caught between all these really powerful nations that were trying to conquer their
known world.
 First, Assyria rose to power, and did end up conquering the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Well, that scared the
Southern Kingdom of Judah, and Judah looked for some other countries to have as back-up in case Assyria came
back. So they got cozy with Babylonia…thinking that maybe together, they could hold off Assyria.
 But THEN, Babylonia got really powerful with king Nebuchadnezzer, conquered Assyria AND Egypt, and made the
kings in Jerusalem their vassals.
 Well, the Kings of Judah didn’t really like being vassals, and they kept rebelling.
o The first time they rebelled and stopped paying tribute to them like good vassals should, Babylon came,
defeated them, and took all their royalty (including Daniel) into exile (605 BC). So they were good vassals
again…for a while.
o They rebelled again, and Babylon came back and took about 10,000 Jews into exile in Babylon, including Ezekiel
(597 BC). And they were good for a few years.
o They rebelled again, and Nebudchadnezzer laid siege to Jerusalem, which last about 2 years, finally broke down
the walls, destroyed the temple, burned everything, and deported pretty much everyone else into Babylon,
leaving Jerusalem in ruins.
Ezekiel was called to be a prophet and preach to the Jews who had been exiled to Babylon, who had just been deported.
 Whirlwind. Ezekiel’s vision of God shows that God was still moving and active.
 Creatures. Then Ezekiel starts talking about what are (as best we can tell from comparing other similar passages
from other prophets) the angels attending God’s throne. They’re weird, but the thing about them is that they can
see and move in every direction.
 Eye-Wheels. Next to them are these weird intersecting wheels with eyes all over them, which are described as the
spirit of the creatures, and the creatures move as these wheels direct. Is that God’s spirit directing them or the
creatures’ own spirit? Hard to say for sure. But the point there is that they see everything, and they can move
anywhere quick as lightning. If the creatures can do that, God certainly can….

So what is God showing Ezekiel about God? That God is still moving, working, and is unlimited by distance. If the Jews
were worried that God wouldn’t be able to reach them or care for them or see them or watch over them ALLLL the way
in Babylon, their fears were completely unfounded. God could still move there as quick as lightning. God can see
everything in all directions. God is still working and moving and nothing can stop God’s plan for them.

Ezekiel first starts preaching to them when Jerusalem was still standing, and they were hopeful of a quick return. The
first third of Ezekiel’s message is about how Jerusalem and the temple WOULD be destroyed. After it WAS destroyed,
Ezekiel preaches judgment against the other nations, and consolation and hope for Israel.

“Eyes All Around” (Ezekiel)

by Sally Ulrey for the Diocese of Atlanta
Like Jeremiah, Ezekiel was a skilled communicator, employing all kinds of creative techniques. He LOVED to act things
out. He built a model of Jerusalem and then destroyed it. He lay on his side for hundreds of days, symbolizing the long
siege of Jerusalem that was going on. He had to act out rationing his food, like during the siege of Jerusalem. He was
instructed to cook his bread over human excrement, but when he protested to God, God said he could use cow manure.
It was all to bring home to the Jews in Babylon what the Jews in Jerusalem were going through.

Transitional Statement: The point of this crazy vision is that God is still moving, and just because they’re far
away, doesn’t mean God can’t see or act or get to them. God is unlimited. God can move like a flash of
lightning, easily, unhindered, and God can see everything in every direction. That vision was encouraging to
those who weren’t sure how far God could reach outside of Jerusalem, and if God could still take care of them
when they were so far away! Ezekiel’s message was good news: God sees, God is still moving, God is still
working, God is still with you.

“Eyes All Around” (Ezekiel)

by Sally Ulrey for the Diocese of Atlanta
Eyes to See (Look, 20 mins)
In this part, students will be reminded that God has eyes on everything that is worrying them or important to
them. God sees, and God cares, and God is moving and working, even when they can’t see it. They’ll also get
to make a funky collaborative art project depicting the eyes and the wheels and the creatures, as well as the
things they need for God to “see” that are happening in their own lives, or are close to their hearts.

 Tape up the Butcher Paper (at least 8’x4’, but as bigger if you can)
 Make lots of copies of the page with the Eye shapes on it

 Vision. Instruct them to, as a group, re-create the vision from Ezekiel ch 1 on the butcher paper. They will
need to decide who is working on what part, and make sure everyone contributes something…no eyes yet.
 Eye Shapes. Once they’ve got some creatures and wheels, pass out the eye shapes and scissors. These eye
shapes will go on the wheels (or somewhere on the art piece). The eye shape (and they can have more
than one) will represent something they want to lift up to God in prayer, reminding God to “see” it
(obviously, God does see it, but if it’s on our hearts or we’re worried, we should ask again and remind God
to see…) These things can be personal to them, or things they are worried about for the world or others.
So have them get as many eye shapes as they have things they want God to “see.” Place the eye shapes on
the butcher paper.
 All Our Needs. Somewhere around the creatures and wheels, have them depict what each eye shape is
seeing…what things they want to lift up to God for God to see. Have them draw a line from their eye
shape to what it is seeing/what they are praying about. Decorate their eye shapes however they want,
maybe to go with the thing that eye is seeing.
 Explain. Have them explain (as they are led) what they put on there and why, and what they’re praying
that God will “see” and “move/act” on. If you have a large group, have them explain to a partner, or a
group of a couple other people.

Transitional Statement
God sees. God is moving. God is working on our behalf. It might take longer than we were hoping, like it did
for the exiles, but God is still there with us! Let’s offer these things up to God in prayer, and let’s also pray
that we would have eyes like God’s to see the needs of God’s people.

“Eyes All Around” (Ezekiel)

by Sally Ulrey for the Diocese of Atlanta
Give Me Your Eyes (Took, 10 mins)
For the closing time, we’ll invite students to lift up all their worries to God, and also ask God for God’s eyes, to
see the needs of the world, and those around us, so that we can pray for them and act on their behalf as well.

 Get in a circle
 Explain that we will now be lifting up in prayer all the things on the butcher paper: things that we’re
worried about, mindful of, or are close to our hearts.
 Explain that when it’s their turn, they should just tell God about what they put on the paper, what they
need for God to “see”.
 Open in prayer, saying something like, “God, you see all things; you know our needs; we especially lift up
to You the things that are on our hearts that we most need you to see…”
 Have the youth go around in a circle and list the things they put on the paper
 Close with something like “God we know that you are unlimited by anything…You are always working
and always moving, even when we can’t see it, and you are always there, even when it feels like we are
far off. Thank you for seeing us and our needs.”
 Read 2 Chronicles 16:9: “The eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose
hearts are fully committed to him.”
 Remind them that God sees, and God acts…and sometimes God acts through us. Explain that we want God
to see our needs, but we also need to be willing to have eyes that see like God’s, looking and seeing the
needs of other people.
 Explain that we will listen to a song, and to make it their prayer…it’s called “Give Me Your Eyes” by
Brandon Heath
 Play “Give Me Your Eyes” by Brandon Heath (3:50 mins):
 Using their smartphones, have them take a picture of the collaborative work of art (and take one for
yourself, and you can also post on social media as a reminder…with their permission; be mindful of the
things on there that might be too personal)
 Instruct them to SEE these needs of their brothers and sisters in Christ this week, and to use this picture as
a guide and a reminder for their prayer time…pray for each other’s needs.

“Eyes All Around” (Ezekiel)

by Sally Ulrey for the Diocese of Atlanta
Map of Israel

“Eyes All Around” (Ezekiel)

by Sally Ulrey for the Diocese of Atlanta
Icons made by Freepik at

<div>Icons made by <a href="" title="Freepik">Freepik</a> from <a href="" title="Flaticon"></a> is licensed by <a href="" title="Creative Commons
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“Eyes All Around” (Ezekiel)

by Sally Ulrey for the Diocese of Atlanta
The “What’s in the Bible?” Series

Genesis “Memories and Stories” Nov 2017

Exodus “Near” Nov 2017
Leviticus “You Want me to do What Now?” & “Fellowship” May 2017
Numbers “Unfinished” Nov 2017
Deuteronomy “SuperHero Wanted” Nov 2017
Joshua “Never Give Up” Sep 2016
Judges “No Rules” Dec 2017
Ruth “Loyalty” Feb 2017
1&2 Samuel “Who’s on the Throne?” Dec 2017
1&2 Kings “Lights in the Darkness” Dec 2017
Ezra “Read the Book!” Jan 2018
Nehemiah “Build the Wall” Jan 2018
Esther “Courage” Apr 2017
Job “Bad Theology” Feb 2018
Psalms “On the Couch” Feb 2018
Proverbs “Just Sayings” Feb 2018
Ecclesiastes “What’s the Point?” Apr 2018
Song of Songs “Love Being In Love” Apr 2018
Isaiah “Songs of Trust” Sep 2018
Jeremiah “Creative Communication” Oct 2018
Lamentations “Disaster Scene” Oct 2018
Ezekiel “Eyes All Around” Oct 2018
Daniel “Faithfulness” Apr 2017

“Eyes All Around” (Ezekiel)

by Sally Ulrey for the Diocese of Atlanta

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