Not All Happy Stuff

I Send You to Them
Ezekiel 2:1-4 ESV

And he said to me, “Son of man, stand on your feet, and I will speak with you.” And as he spoke to me, the Spirit entered into me and set me on my feet, and I heard him speaking to me. And he said to me, “Son of man, I send you to the people of Israel, to nations of rebels, who have rebelled against me. They and their fathers have transgressed against me to this very day. The descendants also are impudent and stubborn: I send you to them, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God.’”

These are God’s specific instructions to his prophet Ezekiel, so they don’t generally apply to all of us in the strictest sense. But all Scripture is God-breathed and is profitable for reproof, correction, and instruction and training in righteousness. So, there is something we can learn here.

Does the Lord still speak to us today? Yes! How? Through his written word and through his Spirit who is living within us, but also through other people and through our circumstances, but only as the Spirit speaks to us through them, and only as what we hear aligns with God’s word as a whole.

Are we supposed to listen to the Lord speaking to us? Yes! Does he give us instructions when he speaks to us? Yes! sometimes.

Does he send us to speak to other people? Yes! We are his witnesses, and we are the light of the world, and the salt of the earth, and we are to make disciples of all nations teaching them to obey Christ, and we are to proclaim the excellencies of him who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light. We are to be those who are sharing the gospel with others.

Are we supposed to speak to other Christians? Yes! The New Testament is filled with instructions on how we are to interact with other believers in Jesus Christ. We are to share songs and hymns, and instruct, encourage, exhort, and build up to maturity one another. And we are to speak the truth in love to one another.

And we are to do this in the gifts of the Spirit we have been given, serving our Lord in the areas of ministry to which he has called us, and in the power and wisdom of God’s Spirit in obedience to our Lord in saying whatever it is he gives us to say to minister his love and grace to the body of Christ.

Will the Lord, thus, send us to speak to rebellious people who profess to be followers of Jesus Christ? Yes! For we are to speak the truth in love, one to the other, and we are to help one another to come out of sin and to walk in obedience to our Lord, and we are to exhort one another in the faith.

So, we need to stand up on our feet and have ears to hear what the Spirit wants to say to us, first about our own lives, and then regarding how we can encourage our fellow believers to walk in faithful obedience to our Lord. And we aren’t all going to do it in all the exact same ways, either.

For example, the Lord has me writing devotions and poems and songs. Then he has me place those on the internet so that the internet can “run with it” and the Lord takes what he gives me to write to the people he wants it to go to. My assignment is to write what he gives me and to put it on the internet.

The Lord may call you to share his gospel or to speak encouragement to the body of Christ in a different way than he has called me, for although we are all members of the same body, we don’t all function in the same way, but we are all necessary for the proper working of the body of Christ.

Whether They Hear or Refuse
Ezekiel 2:5-7 ESV

“And whether they hear or refuse to hear (for they are a rebellious house) they will know that a prophet has been among them. And you, son of man, be not afraid of them, nor be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns are with you and you sit on scorpions. Be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, for they are a rebellious house. And you shall speak my words to them, whether they hear or refuse to hear, for they are a rebellious house.”

Does the Lord promise us if we go where he sends us, and we say what he leads us to say that everyone is going to welcome us with open arms? Nope! He told us that we would be hated and persecuted as he was. And who were his greatest persecutors? His own people of his own faith and his own family.

So, we don’t go with God’s word and speak it to others out of obedience to our Lord on the condition that it is well received, and that everyone listens to us, and that everyone gives us lots of accolades for what we are doing. We go, and we speak, whether or not anyone listens to what we have to say.

For the Lord doesn’t always send us to people who are ready and willing to listen. It is great when he does, but there is no requirement that says he must, for he is God! If he wants to send us to people with stubborn unbelieving and rebellious hearts who won’t listen, then we still go.

For not one of us knows how God plans to use us in those people’s lives. They may not listen to us now, but God’s word will never return void, but it will accomplish the purpose for which the Lord sent it. So, even if what we speak now is not well received, it may come back to their minds later.

So, we are not to fear their rejection or their harsh words against us, but we are to keep speaking what God gives us to speak or to write or to sing. And we are to trust the Lord with the results. And we are not to take it personally when people ignore us or even fight against us. Our job is just to obey.

Open Your Mouth and Eat
Ezekiel 2:8-10 ESV

“’But you, son of man, hear what I say to you. Be not rebellious like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you.’ And when I looked, behold, a hand was stretched out to me, and behold, a scroll of a book was in it. And he spread it before me. And it had writing on the front and on the back, and there were written on it words of lamentation and mourning and woe.”

Now, the Scriptures are not all happy stuff that everyone wants to hear, you know. So, if you are teaching or sharing the Scriptures with others, they may not like what you are sharing, and they may wish you would lighten up and not be so serious and be more like them.

So, we need to be aware of this ahead of time, and we must guard against rebelling against the Lord out of a desire to be liked and accepted by other humans. For, it is a lonely and a tough road to speak messages people don’t want to hear and then have them attack or reject you.

We have to care more about the salvation of other people’s lives and what is truly best for them than we care about how they treat us in return. We have to be willing to speak the truth in love even if all we get in return is a cold shoulder from those who don’t like the messages.

We have to love God and our fellow humans so much that we will be willing to be hated if it means saying what they need to hear. So, we must be those who are willing to receive whatever the Lord has for us to do or to say, for human lives depend on hearing the truth which will set them free.

Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

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