READING: Ezekiel 1-5, Hebrews 11
A preacher is called to do one thing: preach the Word. Not just the news of the day. Not his opinion or conjecture. Not his favorite jokes. He might, of course, use current events to illustrate a sermon. He might offer his conjecture about a “gray” passage of scriptures over which scholars debate. He might even use humor in a healthy way to make his point—but, his overall goal must be to preach the Word of God with clarity and conviction. He must speak the Word whether or not others listen.
That was God’s word to the prophet Ezekiel:
- “Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites . . . I am sending you to them, and you must say to them, ‘This is what the Lord God says.’Whether they listen or refuse to listen—for they are a rebellious house—they will know that a prophet has been among them” (Ezek 2:3-5)
- “Speak my words to them whether they listen or refuse to listen, for they are rebellious” (Ezek 2:7)
- “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” (Ezek 3:11)
Ezekiel’s message would not be a popular one, but he was to proclaim it regardless. In the words of one author, “His success would not be measured in terms of the people’s response but in terms of his obedience. Though he was told that no one would welcome his messages from God, the prophet still was responsible for delivering them.”* They would, in fact, know that a prophet had been among them when Ezekiel spoke (Ezek 2:5).
I suspect that proclaiming the gospel message in North American culture will become even more difficult and unpopular in the days to come. Nevertheless, our responsibility is to proclaim the Word.
Period. Whether or not people listen.
PRAYER: “Grant me faithful courage, God, to preach Your Word. Always.”
DAILY ACTION STEP: Pray for your pastor (or, if you are a pastor, for others) to proclaim God’s Word.
TOMORROW’S READING: Ezekiel 6-9, Hebrews 12
* Cooper, L. E. (1994). Ezekiel (Vol. 17, p. 76). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.