January 23, 2016

Ezekiel 2:7-8 “You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen, for they are rebellious. But you, son of man, listen to what I say to you. Do not rebel like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you.”

When God commissions someone it’s because there is a need for what that person is sent to do. If the Jews had been earnest in seeking God and wholehearted in their obedience to Him, He would not have needed to commission Ezekiel to speak to them. We tend to react to the task ahead of us, not realizing that if that task weren’t there, we wouldn’t need to be there either! However, we shouldn’t think that because we are sent to deal with that task that we have it all together ourselves. Here, God is cautioning Ezekiel not to be like those to whom He was being sent. I am reminded of Paul’s famous words to the Romans: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2) We have a strong tendency to conform to our surroundings. In some ways that’s not bad, but when it comes to obedience to God it is very dangerous indeed. Pastors and the like have the strong temptation to feel that they are above those to whom they minister, that the rules don’t apply to them personally. We see that in politicians as well, but it is even more dangerous in those who speak God’s words. Here God was telling Ezekiel to take in the message He was giving him, but not to think it didn’t apply to him as well.

I don’t recall God using these exact words, but I feel like this is very much His commission to me. Japanese aren’t so much a rebellious people as they are a stubborn, independent people, not realizing they need God. I guess that could be described as rebellious after all! I am never to give up, any more than Ezekiel was allowed to give up, but keep proclaiming the truth in love. It’s not wrong to desire fruit, a “return on my investment,” and it’s not wrong to rejoice in however much fruit I see, but my obedience is not to be contingent on fruit. My focus is to be on the One who called me, saved me, and commissioned me, doing His will on His schedule and leaving the results up to Him.

Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for continuing to work on and in me; I need it! Help me express to others the patience, persistence and grace You have shown to me, drawing them out of the traps of the enemy with Your truth and Your love, so that they may be set free to walk in all that You have planned for them from Creation, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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