Pressure. We have all felt it at some point. For some of us it seems more natural than breathing. There are many different kinds of pressure. Doctors, police, soldiers — people faced with pressure by their careers each day. The pressure of being responsible for the lives of others. We all face pressure daily to accomplish what seems like endless tasks, to meet the needs (emotional and physical) of our family and friends, to complete the demands of our jobs. All with a smile on our face and love in our hearts, well, on a good day. We all know that sometimes the pressure makes that smile fade and turns the love into weariness.
Ezekiel understood pressure. In the first few verses of chapter three, he is again face to face with the Spirit of God. (The pressure to please the boss and meet demands at work pales in comparison to standing next to the Spirit as he delivers instructions.) The first thing Ezekiel is asked do is eat the scroll. Yes, to devour paper. Strange request, lots of pressure – remember the instructions come from God himself. There’s no, “sorry that’s not on my diet plan, or I had a big breakfast.” No, when the spirit of God asks Ezekiel to eat a scroll, Ezekiel eats the scroll. The crazy thing (not that eating a scroll isn’t crazy enough) was that Ezekiel said it tasted like honey. He obeyed the Lord’s crazy request, and it was good. Then the spirit goes on to tell Ezekiel that he will be responsible for teaching the Israelites and turning them from their rebellious ways. In verses 16-21, he is told that the fates of the rebellious Israelites will become his fate. If he saves a man and leads him to return to the Lord, he will have saved himself. But if he preaches to a wicked man and that man does not listen, Ezekiel, too, will suffer the fate of death. Talk about pressure. Had I been in Ezekiel’s shoes, the eating of the scroll may have caused an all out sprint from the crazy demands and pressure. But Ezekiel didn’t run; in fact, he didn’t even question. He listened, and he obeyed. In verse 22, he says “the hand of the Lord was upon me.” He didn’t crumble under pressure because he knew the Lord was holding him up. He didn’t run from he demands because God was with him. Pressure fades when the Lord has his hand on you. When pressure has us feeling weak, we should recognize that we don’t have to be strong because the Lord is holding us up. If he has asked or commanded us to do something (no matter how crazy), his hands will hold us when the pressure bears down. When we obey the Lord, he rewards our obedience — the scroll tastes like honey.
Lord, help me to recognize when you are asking something of me and give me the strength to obey. Thank you for always having your hands upon me when the demands and pressures of this life weigh me down. Help me to remain in your will where you will support me. In the midst of weakness, you are strength. We are so blessed to have a God who does not simply give us an endless and seemingly impossible list of demands; instead, Lord, you demand of us and then give us strength to fulfill those demands. Thank you for your love.