READING: Ezekiel 1-4
TEXTS AND APPLICATION: Today’s reading begins the book of Ezekiel. We’re into chapter 4, and to be honest, I’m already trying to figure out the arresting visions and strange images of this book. Living creatures . . . Wheels . . . Wings . . . Mighty waters . . . Bricks. In some ways, no single human description can fully capture all that Ezekiel saw.
What is undeniably clear, though, is Ezekiel’s calling to internalize the Word and go proclaim it, regardless of whether the people listened. Indeed, Ezekiel 3:1-11 is bookended by calls to consume/internalize/listen to the Word and then proclaim it:
Ezek. 3:1-4, 10-11 He said to me: “Son of man, eat what you find here. Eat this scroll, then go and speak to the house of Israel.” So I opened my mouth, and He fed me the scroll. “Son of man,” He said to me, “eat and fill your stomach with this scroll I am giving you.” So I ate it, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth. Then He said to me: “Son of man, go to the house of Israel and speak My words to them” . . . .
Next He said to me: “Son of man, listen carefully to all My words that I speak to you and take them to heart. Go to your people, the exiles, and speak to them. Tell them, ‘This is what the Lord God says,’ whether they listen or refuse to listen.”
These words ring loudly for me as a preacher of the gospel. Some 40+ years ago, I clearly heard God speak to my heart: “I want you to preach My Word.” Those words have never varied, and that calling has never wavered. I simply cannot deny how strongly I sensed God’s direction that day.
I suppose, though, that I’ve sometimes allowed fear to hinder my proclaiming — particularly when calling a stubborn people of God to repentance. I know I’ve been discouraged at the lack of response at times. I don’t know that internalizing the Word has always been sweet to me.
The older I get, though, the more loudly I hear the simplicity of this calling: "Listen carefully. Take My words to heart. Go. Proclaim My message. Proclaim it even if they don’t listen. And don’t be afraid.”
Would you pray that my wife and I would most faithfully fulfill that calling — whatever it means, wherever it leads, and whatever it costs?
May I pray the same for you?
PRAYER: “Father, make Your Word a part of each of us. Make all of us — all believers — willing to tell Your message even if others don’t listen.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Ezekiel 5-8