So here I am again, with a quick thought taken from my general reading through the book of Ezekiel. Have I ever mentioned that I love the books of Jeremiah & Ezekiel?
Do I understand everything from them? No…..but the more you read, the more God opens your heart to his Word.
As I read through Chapter 3 of Ezekiel, the verses 12-17 stood out to me. In these verses, you get a glimpse of the attitude of the prophet Ezekiel! Drawing in the immediate context of what is going on at this period, we understand that the captivity of Judah had already taken place; Nebuchadnezzar has besieged Judah & rounded up the choice men & women for Babylon. King Jehoiachin who was the king of Judah at the time, was also taken to captivity, Nebuchadnezzar instilled Zedekiah as the last king of the remnants of Judah. (2Kings 24:10-15)
Ezekiel who was one of the captives of Judah is called of God to be a prophet as he & the captives are dwelling at the river Chebar in the land of Babylon (Ezekiel 1:1-3)
Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river of Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God. In the fifth day of the month, which was the fifth year of king Jehoiachin’s captivity, The word of the Lord came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the Lord was there upon him. Ezekiel 1:1-3
The commands of God to Ezekiel are clear,
1: Go preach to my people
2: Warn them to turn back to me
3: Tell them I have not forgotten them
4: Warn other nations of my judgments
Now prior to Ezekiel leaving to preach to the remnant of those captive, this is what is said of Ezekiel in terms of his attitude to the command of God “So the spirit lifted me up, and took me away, and I went in bitterness, in the heat of my spirit; but the hand of the Lord was strong upon me.” Ezekiel 3:14
Now bare in mind, Ezekiel had lived through some of the rebellious years of Judah, & grew up during the reign of King Josiah to Jehoiachin, so he had legitimate reason to be upset with his people for how they had disobeyed God.
Let’s not forget also that God makes it clear to Ezekiel that whilst he will have the ears of the people, they WILL not listen to him “But the house of Israel will not hearken unto thee; for they will not hearken unto me: for all the house of Israel are impudent and hardhearted.” Ezekiel 3:7
So Ezekiel was aggrieved & bitter in his spirit towards the people, but the Spirit of God was still strong on him as he took him to the captives. Showing that Ezekiel had a heart of obedience, even though he himself did not particularly like the task at hand, nevertheless he obeyed God.
Now whilst Ezekiel left in bitterness & anger to the people, his attitude changed during a period of 7 days as he sat amongst them “Then I came to them of the captivity at Telabib, that dwelt by the river of Chebar, and I sat where they sat, and remained there astonished among them seven days. Ezekiel 3:15
Ezekiel, once he had been amongst the remnant, no doubt seeing the state in which the people were in, his heart softened to the cause. This reminds me of Christ’s surmisings & compassion he had for the people in Matthew 9:36 that they were scattered like sheep with no shepherd.
“But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.” – Matthew 9:36
Ezekiel would go on for 48 huge chapters obeying God, sometimes undertaking some of the most difficult tasks God had ever given to man, solidifying himself as a great prophet of God & a giant of the faith, but that was not how he started.
All of this to say this one simple fact; sometimes God calls us to obey him, when we may have our own reservations as to why we should not. Maybe a past hurt, or fear, past disappointments, disillusionment, doubts, inadequacy etc but regardless if we have these thoughts, just like Ezekiel, it should not stop us from obeying the command of God, in whatever capacity God has called us to. God doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the called. Amen