Nov. 27, 2018

Ezekiel 3

Ezekiel 3:1-2 was the inspiration for the previous post (dated November 16).  The book of Ezekiel opens with a spectacular vision. Ezekiel is shown a vividly colorful scene that includes the four living creatures and the stunning display of the glory of God. This is the Lord’s prelude to a new dimension in Ezekiel’s life. Prior to this, Ezekiel is identified as a priest (Ezekiel 1:2). The Lord has determined to use Ezekiel to carry His message to the people of Israel. Ezekiel is about to be called into service as a prophet (Ezekiel 2:5).

Imagine how Ezekiel must have felt. He didn’t even know he was being considered for the position. He hadn’t filled out any online application or sat for any job interviews. His first day on the job he receives a weighty assignment. Ezekiel isn’t given the opportunity to meet his coworkers, tour the facility or unpack his work belongings. He doesn’t know the rate of pay, vacation schedule or what time he can go to lunch. He does quickly find out though two things: Who he reports to and the culture of the work environment. Ezekiel 2:3-7 gives a pretty grim job description.

Job Description

Job requires frequent travel. There will be no luxury accommodations. The people you will be interacting with will be familiar to you but not friendly. In the interest of full disclosure, they won’t like you at all. They will be obstinate and stubborn. They may receive your message or they may not. You will be on a very prickly path: it is no bed of roses. You will be living in a toxic neighborhood among scorpions (in case you don’t know, scorpions are lobster-like creatures with pinching claws and poisonous stingers). Yes, those will be your neighbors. Don’t expect to make friends or be invited to the neighborhood barbeque.

Ezekiel had been hired for a job he didn’t apply for. He had no training and no expertise in the field in which he was expected to work. His head was probably spinning! It is evident that our Lord is a big advocate of on-the-job-training. He generally offers a few major highlights and the rest we learn as we go.

But the Lord is wise. He knows every detail of every person called into His service. He knows all of our strengths, weaknesses and fears. None of it is a hindrance to fulfilling the whole will of the Father as long as we follow His instructions. God always has an excellent plan that works if we work the plan.

When the Lord presents an assignment, we often look at it from our perspective instead of from God’s.  From a human outlook, of course it is impossible. We are not smart enough, educated enough, rich enough, poor enough, tall enough, short enough, well-liked enough, disliked enough, don’t speak well enough, speak too well, too busy, too attractive, not attractive enough, don’t have the right clothes or car or dwelling…and the list goes on. None of that matters. But from the God-perspective all things are possible to those who believe. With God all things are possible (Genesis 18:14). There are only two requirements to be chosen by God: are you willing and will you do what He says? That’s why His application process is so simple. There are only two questions. 1) Are you willing? 2) Will you do what the Spirit bids you?

In order to equip Ezekiel for the assignment, God did what we would call today “a download”. In one transaction the Lord  supplied all that Ezekiel would need.

The details of the transaction are shared in Ezekiel 2:8 – 3:11. These are some of the specifics.

  1. Listen. You don’t know what to do, where to go or what to say when you get there. Hear the voice of the Lord. Don’t be distracted or confused by what others are saying. Hear the voice of the Lord and conduct yourself accordingly. Ezekiel 2:8
  2. You will be living among rebellious people. Do not allow those ungodly spirits to attach themselves to you. It is easy to become frustrated with stubborn people. If care and caution aren’t taken the one sent to minister can become as bitter and imbalanced as the ones to whom he or she was sent. Guard against hardness of heart. Stay pliable in the hands of the Lord. Ezekiel 2:8
  3. Even though the Lord is supplying the message and the method, the messenger has a responsibility. Be a good steward over what God has called and chosen you to accomplish for His glory. Be a willing participant and accept the responsibility to which you have been called. Ezekiel had to open his mouth as an act of acceptance. Then he had to eat the Word of God (ALL of Him) as an act of agreement. We are to accept and agree with God’s ministry decisions. Ezekiel 2:8 – 3:2
  4. We are to receive the whole roll, the entire Word and will of the Father.  Even when we don’t understand it all, still receive it because of the love we have for Him. Also because of the reward of obedience. God can do so much through those who trust and obey. The Lord is never wrong or untimely. He is totally trustworthy all the time. So we can eat the entire Word and not suffer any damage. That doesn’t mean there will never be pain. There is the pain of injury and the pain of healing. After a splinter is removed the area is still tender for awhile. But the source of discomfort is gone and healing begins. The Word is like healing balm. Ezekiel 3:3
  5. Don’t take opposition personally. People who knew you before the call into the Lord’s service don’t always accept your call seriously. You are called by God and He prepares and equips you. You are an ambassador on His behalf. You represent Him. Don’t take praise or poison personally. You are on assignment. Stay focused. Ezekiel 3:4-7
  6. You have nothing to fear. The Lord will prepare and protect you. He called you. He will take care of you. Ezekiel 3:8-9
  7. Listen carefully (NIV). Stay attuned to the voice of God. This point is emphasized more than once in this passage.  Don’t take the ball and run with it. The Lord is in charge. Just follow what He says: no more and no less. Ezekiel 3:10
  8. Go and do. After the Lord has given instructions then go and do as He has said. Speak as an oracle of God. Stay on task. Don’t deviate from the plan. Ezekiel 3:11

 

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