Ezekiel 2:1-2 (NIV) 1 He said to me, “Son of man, stand up on your feet and I will speak to you.” 2 As he spoke, the Spirit came into me and raised me to my feet, and I heard him speaking to me.
On verses 1-2: Sometimes God’s Word will bring us to our knees. Sometimes God’s Word will raise us to our feet. One way or the other, when your heart is humble and open to God, God’s Word will move you.
Ezekiel 2:3-7 (NIV) 3 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. 4 The people to whom I am sending you are obstinate and stubborn. Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says.’ 5 And whether they listen or fail to listen–for they are a rebellious house–they will know that a prophet has been among them. 6 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. 7 You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen, for they are rebellious.
On verses 3-7: Before Ezekiel begins his preaching and prophesying ministry to the Israelites, God gives Ezekiel some important advice on how to measure success in his ministry. Ezekiel’s measure of success will not be “whether they [the Israelites] listen or fail to listen” (v5, 7). For God already knew that the Israelites would not listen, describing them as “a rebellious house” (v5, 7), “obstinate and stubborn” (v4), “a rebellious nation that has rebelled against Me; they and their fathers have been in revolt against me to this very day” (v3). So instead of measuring his success exclusively based on how people respond, Ezekiel is to measure his success by another standard: did you “say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says’” (v4). That is, did you say and do everything I called you to do?
Likewise, for us as Christians who are called to live out loud, to make disciples and to share God’s Word with others, it is crucial to know how to measure our success. There is always the temptation to measure our success solely based on how people respond. However, the more important measure of our success is: were we faithful to everything God told us to do and say?
We can’t always control how people respond to God’s Word. For people’s responses will very much depend on the condition of their hearts. But what we can control is how we lead and share God’s Word with others. In our mission to lead people to Jesus and to share God’s Word with others, we are called to be both faithful (1 Corinthians 4:2) and fruitful (John 15:16). So let’s lead people and share God’s Word with others as prayerfully, sensitively, courageously, passionately and creatively as we can, and then leave the results to God. When by God’s grace we do the best we can with what God gives to us, that’s God or anyone else can ask from us.
Ezekiel 2:8-10 (NIV) 8 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.” 9 Then I looked, and I saw a hand stretched out to me. In it was a scroll, 10 which he unrolled before me. On both sides of it were written words of lament and mourning and woe.
On verses 8-10: Part of being obedient to God is listening to what God has to say and receiving His Word with a humble and willing heart. That is what is meant by “open your mouth and eat what I give you.” (v8) Let us not be spoiled children who refuse to eat what our Father sets before us unless it is our favourite food, coated with sugar, presented in exactly the way that appeals to us, spoon fed to us and making us feel good. Because the Israelites made that mistake, God calls them “that rebellious house” (v8) and they missed God’s best for their lives. Instead, with humility, maturity and a thankful heart, let’s joyfully eat whatever word God gives you on a particular day, knowing that our Father knows what is best for us.
Heavenly Father, thank You that You know what word I need to hear every single day. May I have a heart that is humble and open before You, that seeks out Your Word for me each day and eats it, so that Your Word can move me in the direction You want me to go. May I be faithful to Your call to share Your Word with others in the best way I can, and leave the results to You. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!