Recently in my morning reading of the Bible, I have been lead to the Old Testament. I wanted to read something I haven’t read before and encounter something new in God’s word. I’ve begun to read Ezekiel and this journey has begun. I knew very little about Ezekiel, so I read the biography and preview in my study Bible where it presented him as an ultimate follower of God. One who was willing to do anything in obedience to the Lord’s will. Each week I’ll share something new that this Old Testament book has taught me for a modern world.
Ezekiel was called by God to be a prophet to the people of Israel, specifically to the Jews exiled in Babylon. The Holy Spirit literally delivers his task to him. I can imagine the Spirit giving us the same task, advice, and assurance. Ezekiel is being sent to a rebellious people whose faith has wavered, and they have turned from God. Is our nation a people of faith, a nation of believers? Or have we, too, strayed from the Lord and disobeyed? Sometimes, I look at my little world, my family and friends, full of believers and think that we’re doing okay. Then I step back and look at the bigger picture, I watch the news or the commercials on TV, and I think, “Wow, we are in trouble.” In this nation, where immorality is the norm and being a Christian might offend someone, we are called to share Christ’s message. His Spirit lives within us and we are his light to the world. The message that the Spirit gave Ezekiel is our message, too: stand against the rebellious nation and share God’s message with the world. Consider the bakeries in Oregon and Colorado who refused to bake wedding cakes for same-sex couples. They faced ridicule by the media and risked their business. However, the Spirit says, “Do not be afraid of them or their words” (Ezekiel 2:6). When we stand up for our faith, people will ridicule us. When we live for the Lord, the world will criticize; yet, like Ezekiel, it is what we have been called to do. The Spirit reassures us with his words to not be afraid of the pricks of briars and thorns surrounding us or the stings of the scorpions. We will be attacked and poked, but the Lord is on our side, using our love for him to show a community, a nation, a world, that He still reigns and that the rebellion needs to stop so that we can live for him. He sends us out, like Ezekiel, with his Spirit to a rebellious nation and tells us not to be afraid to live for him.
Lord, I know that we live in a time of rebellion and that as a people we dishonor you in many ways. I know that I, myself, am not innocent and have personally fallen short of your expectations. Lord, please forgive me, forgive us and give me the strength and courage to not be afraid and, like Ezekiel, face this rebellious nation and be a witness for you.