Many times, we accept a job in the early years of our employed lives only to get by financially until we work our way to the job we would really like to have. That is how our world works. Believers, however, learn quickly (or slowly and methodically) in life that God has a different way of thinking. God has a plan for our lives with purpose and direction that is for our best and for His glory! He gives and allows us multiple experiences through our lives to prepare us for the next thing He has for us to do. No life experience, God-led or people-led, is wasted on our journey to be all that God create us to be and do. All we are and all we learn is used to fulfil God’s plan. Our response is to simply obey with awe and respect for God who created all, is in all and is over all.
Ezekeil is called by God to warn His people. What God says through Ezekeil is a matter of life or death! (No pressure there!) But, let’s go a bit deeper into this chapter. As we step back, we see the bigger picture. We see an outline forming of Ezekeil’s calling into a job description that highlights what God expects. On closer inspection we discover this job description is fitting for all of us as a called people of God.
See what you see…
Ezekiel 3, The Message
Warn These People
He told me, “Son of man, eat what you see. Eat this book. Then go and speak to the family of Israel.”
2-3 As I opened my mouth, he gave me the scroll to eat, saying, “Son of man, eat this book that I am giving you. Make a full meal of it!”
So I ate it. It tasted so good—just like honey.
4-6 Then he told me, “Son of man, go to the family of Israel and speak my Message. Look, I’m not sending you to a people who speak a hard-to-learn language with words you can hardly pronounce. If I had sent you to such people, their ears would have perked up and they would have listened immediately.
7-9 “But it won’t work that way with the family of Israel. They won’t listen to you because they won’t listen to me. They are, as I said, a hard case, hardened in their sin. But I’ll make you as hard in your way as they are in theirs. I’ll make your face as hard as rock, harder than granite. Don’t let them intimidate you. Don’t be afraid of them, even though they’re a bunch of rebels.”
10-11 Then he said, “Son of man, get all these words that I’m giving you inside you. Listen to them obediently. Make them your own. And now go. Go to the exiles, your people, and speak. Tell them, ‘This is the Message of God, the Master.’ Speak your piece, whether they listen or not.”
12-13 Then the Spirit picked me up. Behind me I heard a great commotion—“Blessed be the Glory of God in his Sanctuary!”—the wings of the living creatures beating against each other, the whirling wheels, the rumble of a great earthquake.
14-15 The Spirit lifted me and took me away. I went bitterly and angrily. I didn’t want to go. But God had me in his grip. I arrived among the exiles who lived near the Kebar River at Tel Aviv. I came to where they were living and sat there for seven days, appalled.
16 At the end of the seven days, I received this Message from God:
17-19 “Son of man, I’ve made you a watchman for the family of Israel. Whenever you hear me say something, warn them for me. If I say to the wicked, ‘You are going to die,’ and you don’t sound the alarm warning them that it’s a matter of life or death, they will die and it will be your fault. I’ll hold you responsible. But if you warn the wicked and they keep right on sinning anyway, they’ll most certainly die for their sin, but you won’t die. You’ll have saved your life.
20-21 “And if the righteous turn back from living righteously and take up with evil when I step in and put them in a hard place, they’ll die. If you haven’t warned them, they’ll die because of their sins, and none of the right things they’ve done will count for anything—and I’ll hold you responsible. But if you warn these righteous people not to sin and they listen to you, they’ll live because they took the warning—and again, you’ll have saved your life.”
22 God grabbed me by the shoulder and said, “Get up. Go out on the plain. I want to talk with you.”
23 So I got up and went out on the plain. I couldn’t believe my eyes: the Glory of God! Right there! It was like the Glory I had seen at the Kebar River. I fell to the ground, prostrate.
24-26 Then the Spirit entered me and put me on my feet. He said, “Go home and shut the door behind you.” And then something odd: “Son of man: They’ll tie you hand and foot with ropes so you can’t leave the house. I’ll make your tongue stick to the roof of your mouth so you won’t be able to talk and tell the people what they’re doing wrong, even though they are a bunch of rebels.
27 “But then when the time is ripe, I’ll free your tongue and you’ll say, ‘This is what God, the Master, says: . . .’ From then on it’s up to them. They can listen or not listen, whichever they like. They are a bunch of rebels!”
WHAT DO WE LEARN—HOW DO WE RESPOND TODAY?
We all see it! As a believer, called for purpose and mission, God expects us to:
- Read, taste, eat and digest His Word until what He says becomes a part of us.
- God’s Word goes down like sweet honey to those ready to obey His Spirit.
- THEN GO and speak GOD’S message that is clear and understandable.
- Know your audience. Know your Message. Know God is at work.
- Be ready for some to hear and obey as well as those who turn away.
- Do not be intimidated by hard looks and mean words.
- The response of the people is not your responsibility, only the message.
- The message of God is of greatest importance, a matter of life or death.
- Follow God’s timing always. “When the time is ripe, I’ll free your tongue…”
NOTE: The watchman in those days stood on top of the wall of the city with eyes fixed on the horizon. They would warn people of impending danger from the enemy approaching the city. The cry of warning could be heard throughout the city. It was, indeed, a matter of life or death for the listeners.
Today we are all called to tell God’s message of salvation. God tells us the right time, place and with what to say when we listen and obey His Holy Spirit. Paul explains this “calling” and obeying so well to the Romans:
“If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. As the Scriptures tell us, ‘Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.’Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on him. For ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’
But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, ‘How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!’” Romans 10:9-15, NLT
It’s still a matter of life or death!
May we take our calling seriously knowing without a doubt you are leading, going before us to prepare the hearts of the listeners. But if some say no, not yet, we know that you are still at work in their hearts. Some will say no, but their response is not in our job description. Our work is to be led by you to tell the Truth of the One and Only who gives Life eternal. Show us when with what to say. I know you will. I believe.
In Jesus Name, For Your Glory, Amen