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. For they are impudent and stubborn children. I am sending you to them, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God.’ 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. “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. You shall speak My words to them, whether they hear or whether they refuse, for they are rebellious. 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.” (Ezekiel 2:3-8)
They Will Know A Prophet Has Been Among Them
The nation of Israel was in the early days of their captivity when the Lord appeared to one of His priest, the son of Buzi named Ezekiel. Babylon had destroyed the final remnants of a once proud nation and now only a handful remained to tearfully tell the story of Israel’s downfall after the glorious period of Solomon, son of David. It took less than four hundred years for the nation to crumble and the Assyrians and Babylonians to exact divine punishment against the people of God. The northern ten tribes were obliterated and now only a small group remained of the faithful among Judah and Benjamin. It was to these faithful few the Lord sends Ezekiel to preach repentance, hope and the judgment of the Lord. The task would not be easy for the priest. As the Lord raised Ezekiel up and declared to him to work before him, it became abundantly clear the challenge of exhorting the people of God would be daunting at best. The Lord does not tell the priest his job would be easy and tells him in no uncertain terms it will be the most difficult thing he will ever do. Regardless of the hardship, Ezekiel is tasked to carry out the work of the Lord.
Ezekiel is being sent to a rebellious and stubborn nation who has yet to learn the captivity is their punishment. As a preacher of truth, the priest will speak before an impudent crowd who do not respect the word of God. For generations the children of Israel chose their own path refusing to heed the will of the Father. The history of Israel is filled with rebellion, murmuring, wickedness and injustice to their fellow man and the Lord had had enough. First the Assyrians came and then the nation of Babylon to exact vengeance on an ungodly nation of believer’s intent on serving the gods of the world. The reception Ezekiel would receive was anything but cordial. God warned the priest the people will not be receptive and refuse to listen but he must preach the word regardless of how the people respond. Whether they heard the word of God or whether they refused to hear the task of the priest was the same – preach the word. He should not be afraid of them or be afraid of their words and even when they looked at Ezekiel with eyes of contempt – preach the word. The response of the people did not change the message of the preacher. He would tell them things they did not want or like to hear but he would tell them anyway. His task was to let the word of God have the impact of God’s grace on the people and allow the power of the message to move the hearts of men to obey the Lord. Ezekiel did what the Lord said and left a legacy of courage in the face of disappointment and hardship. His book is preserved in holy writ as a testimony of faith standing in the midst of rebellion that should resonate in the hearts of all those who share the gospel of Jesus Christ.
God sent His only begotten Son into the world to save men and they killed Him. Jesus knew they were going to crucify Him and He still preached the word of the Father. He never backed away from preaching truth whether it softened the heart of the common man or angered the belligerent spirit of Jewish hierarchy. Jesus preached the word. The early disciples did not hide in fear when Saul persecuted the church. They went everywhere preaching the word. Many would lose their lives for standing for truth. Living in a godless world of rebellion the saints of God courageously spoke the word of truth to souls that would listen. The day of reckoning is upon all the people of God to refuse to bow down to the social, political and religious pressure to compromise truth. Ezekiel was called during a time of national calamity to preach the word to a rebellious people. Every generation must have men and women who are willing to take their place of courage to stand in the gap defending the truth of God’s word. Men and women like Ezekiel who are called upon to preach the gospel of a risen Christ in a world that is rebellious and stubborn. Whether they hear or whether they refuse – for the world is a rebellious house – they need to know there are prophets of God among them that will tell the old, old story and not change the message of salvation. Faith comes from hearing the word of God and sharing that message of faith with others untainted by the afflictions of man’s compromise is the task of the loyal servants of God. Let the world know there a righteous people of God among them. Shout the message loudly so that all can hear. Preach the word.