Posted by: missionventureministries | November 2, 2017

GOD’S CALL TO REPENTANCE BEFORE JUDGMENT TAKES PLACE – Ezekiel 2:1-8

Ezekiel was chosen to be God’s prophet to the Israeli’s who, as a result of God’s judgment, had been carried away to Babylon. It was not an easy task. He was born and raised in the land of Judah and was preparing to become a priest in God’s temple when the Babylonians attacked in 597 BC and carried him away along with 10,000 other captives (2 Kings 24:10-14).  

Five years later, living as a captive in Babylon, Ezekiel would see one of the most glorious and awesome revelation of God’s presence and power (Ezekiel 1:4). Through this vision, God called Ezekiel to be His prophet.  

The Israelites in exile had lost their perspective on God’s purpose and presence in their lifes. They continued to ignore God’s loving attempts to call them to repentance and chose instead to listen to “false prophets” who spoke comforting lies. Though Ezekiel knew he faced a rebellious people and that he was sure to suffer hardship because of his message, he was faithful; choosing to respond to God’s calling and preached to a rebellious people for 22 years.  

The Lord addresses Ezekiel by calling him “son of man” and chooses him to be His messenger. 

God encouraged Ezekiel not to be afraid, as he would have to carry out a very difficult ministry, declaring God’s Word to a stubborn and rebellious people against God.  

Rather than acknowledging and repenting of the sins that had brought God’s judgment upon them, the Jewish exiles chose to live their time in Babylon as a temporary setback that would soon end, and Ezekiel, standing up to the truth of God’s Word, would not be welcome. The people’s response would be hateful and Ezekiel’s love for God would truly be tested.  

Ezekiel 2:1, And He said to me, “Son of man, stand on your feet, and I will speak to you.

God speaks to mankind through the mouth of prophets many times. Jesus called Himself, Son of man on several occasions and represented God the Father to mankind and God calls Ezekiel, son of man, here, because He will speak to mankind through Ezekiel. 

Ezekiel 2:2, “Then the Spirit entered me when He spoke to me, and set me on my feet; and I heard Him who spoke to me.”

Here we see where the Spirit empowers Ezekiel to perform His ministry, as He speaks to him. We find several other occasions in the Old Testament where the Spirit came upon faithful servants of the Lord as in: Numbers 24:2; Judges 3:10; 1 Samuel 10:10, 16:13-14, 19:20; 2 Chronicles 15:1. Before Christ’s first coming, the Spirit did not indwell all believers as now, but He “moved” and “came upon them” as we read in 2 Peter 1:20-21. 

God does not expect us to understand everything about Him, but to be obedient servants and faithful to what we know is true and right. God gave, and continues giving His servants the power of the Holy Spirit to fulfill His commands.  

Ezekiel 2:3, And He said to me: “Son of man, I am sending you to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against Me; they and their fathers have transgressed against Me to this very day.

Here God is speaking to Ezekiel about Israel, but this message is not just for Judah, this message is to all those who rebel against God. 

Ezekiel 2:4, For they are impudent and stubborn children. I am sending you to them, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God.’

“Impudent”, in this case means contemptuous, insolent and we see that their hearts were hardened. Consequently, because of their stubborn hearts God tells Ezekiel to say, “Thus says the Lord GOD”. God wanted Ezekiel and the people to know that He is the one warning them. 

God is speaking to the religious leaders of captive Israel; they had the temple, the fancy robes, money and the religious rituals and services. Their hearts were evil and God rejected their rituals and sacrifices. And they lost everything because of their rebellion and hypocrisy. 

God will not judge us for how well others respond to our witness, but for how faithful we have been; and He always gives us the strength to accomplish what He asks us to do. 

Ezekiel 2:5, As for them, whether they hear or whether they refuse—for they are a rebellious house—yet they will know that a prophet has been among them.”

These people are so hard of heart; that they will perhaps listen and perhaps not. When the words spoken however, become reality, they will know, beyond a doubt, that they had been warned by a prophet of God. In any case the people could not plead ignorance just like they cannot do it today. 

Just like Ezekiel was sent with a message to the children of Israel, there are many godly messengers today that are treated in like manner as Ezekiel was. 

Ezekiel 2:6, And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them nor be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns are with you and you dwell among scorpions; do not be afraid of their words or dismayed by their looks, though they are a rebellious house.”

Be not afraid is spoken three times to Ezekiel to encourage him to fulfill God’s mission. Briars, thorns, scorpions are figures of speech God used to describe the people of Judah whose obstinate rejection of His Word were like briers and thorns, and stings of scorpions to Ezekiel.  

The Lord was preparing Ezekiel for his mission, giving him assurance that He would be with him. God’s servants must not fear men; therefore we must not fear either and be a truthful example to unkind people. 

Ezekiel 2:7, You shall speak My words to them, whether they hear or whether they refuse, for they are rebellious.

Ezekiel was to be faithful to God. Even though these were rebellious people would either hear or refuse to hear, he was not to stop from bringing them the prophecy that God has given him for them. Ezekiel had to be faithful to try to redeem the souls of those to whom he was sent.  

This is applicable to all those who try to teach the Word of God to others. We must obey His voice which the Spirit who dwells in is gives us, just like He gave to Ezekiel. God’s strength is powerful enough to help us live for Him even under the heaviest criticism.    

Rebellion in the Bible is equated to witchcraft in God’s sight. Ministers and missionaries today may bring the truth to people, and still have it rejected. However, just because people do not listen, does not take the burden of teaching away. Just like it was told to Ezekiel, it is our obligation to bring God’s message to people and the Holy Spirit will do the rest. Paul instructed Timothy by saying: “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction” (2 Timothy 4:2). 

Ezekiel 2:8, But you, son of man, hear what I say to you. Do not be rebellious like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you.

God is telling Ezekiel to receive this message into his innermost being. He must not be like these rebellious children of Israel, who will not accept God’s message. We should also read the Word of God every day and keep it in our hearts and minds and do what God has commanded us.

Ezekiel was to obey the command, not literally eating a scroll, but in a spiritual sense by receiving God’s message so that it became an inward passion for him.  

Today His servants just like Ezekiel are to be strong in the Word of God in a world where people have turned against the truth. However, even though people are rebellious, they are not without hope. God holds out hope that people will hear, respond and will have a changed heart, because, hope is ever present until we take our last breath and then our fate, by our own choice, is sealed forever.  

Please ask yourself: Is God revealing some sin in your life? Don’t be stubborn, confess your sin and begin to live for God. By obeying Him now you will enjoy life much more and will be ready to one day stand before Him unashamed. When that day comes, you will be face to face before the One whose eyes are like blazing fire and Who sees deep inside our heart.  

Therefore, remember that: Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in obedience to him (Psalm 128:1). And, pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14).

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Responses

  1. Thank you for this very encouraging post. It’s one of the best ones yet and I really appreciate how you compare what God was showing to Ezekiel (and Ezekiel’s responses) with modern day witnessing.
    The world is more rebellious than ever and sometimes we may feel inadequate when people don’t suddenly become believers…your post gives me the fortitude to keep going forward and doing my best for the Lord. He alone gives the increase.
    Thank you!

  2. This blessed my morning,
    Great source for studying the word
    Thanks for the encouragement
    God Bless.


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