Year 3 Day 36
Read - Ezekiel 2:3-8
Message - Alan Burke
As we read scripture one of the things that we should be looking for is repeated words and phrases, they help us to understand what is going on. Some words and phrases are weaved throughout the scripture like ‘covenant’, others are more specific to a book or a passage. Did you notice the repeated phrase that is used here, of course some English translations are better than others but did you see the words ‘rebels’, ‘rebelled’ and ‘rebellious’? They are in v3, 5, 6, 7 and 8 if you missed them. A rebel, or rebellious person is one who has resisted, opposed those who rule over them. This is God’s people, they are a rebellious nation, who have rebelled against God himself.
The Lord is making the prophet be in no doubt the issue, the issue is Isreal, he is being sent to those who were the people of God, who were his people and yet even though he had been faithful to them they had been faithless. They rebelled, revolted, they were obstinate and stubborn, no longer does call them “house of Isreal” now they are a rebellious house. It wasn’t that they had simply strayed, it wasn’t that they had forgotten, no it was that they had chosen to go this way, knowing fine well God called them to be faithful.
Think of it like this, you warn someone, yet they continue to behave in the same way. You warn them again and things get worse, you warn them again, you tell them the dangers and they intentionally give you a two finger salute and they don’t care of the consequences and they are hurting themselves and everyone around them and even though they know the consequences and see the damage they are doing they keep doing it. That was these people who God had called as His people but there is nothing of that mentioned here.
This is the kind of people that the Lord is sending Ezekiel to speak to, they are those who didn’t care what the Lord God would say. Look to v5 whether they listen of fail to listen, it shouldn’t surprise Ezekiel if they don’t listen to a single thing that he would take them, the Lord is preparing Ezekiel for not only how the would not listen but they would not welcome his message, or rather the message that he takes them from God.
What matters most is not if they listen or fail to listen it is something else, it is Ezekiel himself. The people would not listen to the word of the Lord that he takes but they would know that a prophet has been among them (5). When they finally realise the truth of what Ezekiel tells them they will then understand that the Lord God had been there by His prophet warning them of what was about to happen.
Do not be afraid the Lord tells him, even though the Lord warns Ezekiel of the briars, thorns, scorpions, twice Ezekiel is told not to be afraid of them by the Lord. Yet as there is at least some comfort in the midst of all of this, as v7-8 make clear. For it wasn’t Ezekiel that would be responsible for them listening, it wasn’t within Ezekiel’s power or ability to make the listen, he had one task, it was to speak the words that the Lord gave to him, in spite of opposition.
You know there is something that we are confronted with here, that the word of the Lord is not always heard, and not only that it is also fiercely rejected, it is opposed. Here we are reminded in our interaction with people, and that we see elsewhere in scripture is that the word of God produces these responses, it shouldn’t surprise us. Ezekiel couldn’t change the hearts of the people and neither can we change the hearts of people, it is God alone who changes heart, he is the one who enables people to listen. If you have heard the word and responded to it then it was God’s work in your life by His Spirit that enabled you to listen, and that you are a child of God, nothing can change that.
Q39 What is the duty which God requireth of man?
The duty which God requireth of man, is obedience to his revealed will. (Mic. 6:8, 1 Sam. 15:22)