A Call To Speak
Lord God, give me ears to hear and a heart to obey what You show me from Your Word today.
Read EZEKIEL 2:1-3:15
 He said to me, “Son of man, stand up on your feet and I will speak to you.”  As he spoke, the Spirit came into me and raised me to my feet, and I heard him speaking to me.  He said: “Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me; they and their fathers have been in revolt against me to this very day.  The people to whom I am sending you are obstinate and stubborn. Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says.’  And whether they listen or fail to listen-for they are a rebellious house-they will know that a prophet has been among them.  And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them or their words. Do not be afraid, though briers and thorns are all around you and you live among scorpions. Do not be afraid of what they say or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious house.  You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen, for they are rebellious.  But you, son of man, listen to what I say to you. Do not rebel like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you.”  Then I looked, and I saw a hand stretched out to me. In it was a scroll,  which he unrolled before me. On both sides of it were written words of lament and mourning and woe.  And he said to me, “Son of man, eat what is before you, eat this scroll; then go and speak to the house of Israel.”  So I opened my mouth, and he gave me the scroll to eat.  Then he said to me, “Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it.” So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth.  He then said to me: “Son of man, go now to the house of Israel and speak my words to them.  You are not being sent to a people of obscure speech and difficult language, but to the house of Israel-  not to many peoples of obscure speech and difficult language, whose words you cannot understand. Surely if I had sent you to them, they would have listened to you.  But the house of Israel is not willing to listen to you because they are not willing to listen to me, for the whole house of Israel is hardened and obstinate.  But I will make you as unyielding and hardened as they are.  I will make your forehead like the hardest stone, harder than flint. Do not be afraid of them or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious house.”  And he said to me, “Son of man, listen carefully and take to heart all the words I speak to you.  Go now to your countrymen in exile and speak to them. Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says,’ whether they listen or fail to listen.”  Then the Spirit lifted me up, and I heard behind me a loud rumbling sound-May the glory of the LORD be praised in his dwelling place!-  the sound of the wings of the living creatures brushing against each other and the sound of the wheels beside them, a loud rumbling sound.  The Spirit then lifted me up and took me away, and I went in bitterness and in the anger of my spirit, with the strong hand of the LORD upon me.  I came to the exiles who lived at Tel Abib near the Kebar River. And there, where they were living, I sat among them for seven days-overwhelmed. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectHow would Ezekiel’s message be received by the people?
Two things stand out from this amazing passage describing Ezekiel’s call to be a prophet. The first is the encouragement to him not to be afraid or terrified. This is a call from the Lord to his people throughout Scripture (e.g., Josh. 1:9, Luke 1:30). This injunction to Ezekiel to be free from fear appears many times in quick succession. Obviously, he needs to really hear it. Living free from fear of what people might say or do to us is a powerful thing. It goes against how the world conditions us to operate; but the New Testament promises that perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18). The imperative to an individual prophet, “Do not be afraid” (2:6), is an important word to all believers today.
The second theme that resonates powerfully with us is the command Ezekiel is given to speak God’s word whether or not people appear to be listening. What a challenge for us as Christians in the workplace, school, family and friendship groups. Are we willing to speak up about who God is, even when it may make us unpopular? That was Ezekiel’s challenge then, and it is still ours today, too.
Bring any fears with which you are struggling to God in prayer and ask him to help you live free from fear.
Lord, I want to live free of fear and to always be ready to speak out boldly and clearly for You.
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