Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Ezekiel 3, the Commission of the Prophet of God

Verses 1-4: "And He said to me, 'Son of man, eat whatever you find here. Eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel.' So I opened my mouth, and He gave me this scroll to eat. And He said to me, 'Son of man, feed your belly with this scroll that I give you and fill your stomach with it.' Then I ate it, and it was in my mouth as sweet as honey. And He said to me, 'Son of man, go to the house of Israel and speak with My words to them."

Here we have an allegorical description of the process of inspiration. Ezekiel describes his subjective experience of what the Apostle Paul describes in II Timothy 3:16, "All scripture is breathed out by God...", and by the Apostle Peter in II Peter 1:21, "No prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit."

Verses 16-19: "And at the end of seven days, the word of the Lord came to me: 'Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from My mouth, you shall give them warning from Me. If I say to the wicked, "You shall surely die," and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall die for his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul.'"

The word that God has given to the prophet is not to be reserved or suppressed. Rather, he is to repeat it to the sinners around him. The prophet never assumes responsibility for the sins of others, but rather, he will bear consequences in failing to fulfill his God-given role in announcing the righteousness of God.

Verses 25-26: "'O son of man, behold, cords will be placed upon you, and you shall be bound with them, so that you cannot go out among the people. And I will make your tongue cling to the roof of your mouth, so that you shall be mute and unable to reprove them, for they are a rebellious house.'"

These verses are among the most frightening in Scripture. "Because the prophet may be bound with cords?" you ask. No, but because the hardness of the hearts of a people can reach the point where God refuses to continue to deal with them. That is a judgment, referred to as "judicial hardening," that brings Hell into the experience of a people in this life. May God grant us repentance (II Timothy 2:25), that America may never know that kind of hardening.

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