Friday, August 1, 2008

Words of Encouragement

What must it have been like to have meet Jesus walking along the shores and him calling you to follow him? We may not know the actual feeling the disciples had, but we do know that when he calls us from our places of comfort, we must be willing to stand up and follow him(picture taken by James S. Williams).

He said to me, "Son of man, stand up on your feet and I will speak to you." As he spoke, the Spirit came into me and raised me to my feet, and I heard him speaking to me. He said: "Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me; they and their fathers have been in revolt against me to this very day. The people to whom I am sending you are obstinate and stubborn. Say to them, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says.' And whether they listen or fail to listen—for they are a rebellious house—they will know that a prophet has been among them. And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them or their words. Do not be afraid, though briers and thorns are all around you and you live among scorpions. Do not be afraid of what they say or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious house. 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." - Ezekiel 2:1-8

Ezekiel. Called for a Purpose. We read this week the words that Ezekiel was called to speak to the rebellious people of his time. They were probably not received well by the people of his time just as they would not be appreciated in our time.

However, in today's scripture we see the mandate that is given to Ezekiel from God on what his purpose is to be. God tells Ezekiel to stand up and when he does God tells him I am sending you to my people, my people that are stubborn, and rebellious. They refuse to heed my commands, yet this is who I am sending you to.

I am sending you to this rebellious people to tell them my truth. He is told do not be afraid to speak my truth even if you are not believed. Tell my truth because it is only my truth that will set the people free from the sins of their disobedience. Tell them my truth and not simply what they want to hear.

God's final command to Ezekiel is listen, I know I am sending you to a rebellious people, but you cannot be rebellious like them. Why do you think God told Ezekiel this?

He was warning Ezekiel not to move off of what he had to do. If he, Ezekiel refused to tell the truth, he was in fact becoming as the rebellious people and running from what God was telling him to do. Now there is a time when God says speak and you must speak. There is also a time when God says be quiet and stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. Whatever the time is and whatever the command is, we must do it.

This call to Ezekiel is not just a call to Ezekiel, but to those that God has called to speak his truth. Yes it is for the pastors, minister, prophets, etc. but it is also the truth for all believers. If God assigns you to talk to someone and you refuse because they are rebellious or stubborn, you are becoming just as they, stubborn and resistant against God's will.

We do not always understand the will or the ways of God, but we are called to trust him. I know it does not feel good to tell individuals what God gives you and then they do not believe you or think wrongly about you. Yet we must take courage in knowing that God has tested our hearts and he knows the truth about us, even if no one else does.

Today, I pray that we take courage and comfort in doing well for the Lord. Let us not get weary for doing what we are commanded to do. Let us continue to trust God even in the midst of the difficult situations. When you go to worship this week, go with praise upon your lips for God's great mercy unto you.