Ezekiel 3:14   The Spirit then lifted me up and took me away, and I went in bitterness and in the anger of my spirit, with the strong hand of the LORD upon me.

As I read this verse, three things come to mind.

Firstly, I think of the way Jesus himself was treated when “He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him” (John 1:11).

Secondly, I think of the experiences of the Apostle Paul.  Throughout Acts, we see how, in his missionary journeys, it was his practice to go first to the local Synagogue where God’s Covenant People would be meeting, and he would declare to them the Good News that their Promised Messiah, for whom they had been waiting for so long, had now come.  How disappointing and upsetting it would have been for him that their reaction was violent opposition, and in anger he would have to ‘shake out his clothes in protest’ and say to them, “Your blood be on your own heads!  I am clear of my responsibility.  From now on I will go to the Gentiles” (Acts 18:6).

Thirdly, I think of our own situation today, and how much active opposition there is to the proclamation of the Gospel in a country which for so long has been so blessed by the outpouring of God’s Common Grace in the freedom and material blessing we enjoy, as well as in the widespread access to, and faithful preaching of, God’s Word.

It is encouraging to have the reminder from God’s Word that our present situation is no different from what it was for Ezekiel (and all the other Old Testament Prophets), for the Apostle Paul (and all the other ‘Ambassadors for Christ’ throughout the world ever since), and for the Lord himself.  And yet, in spite of all this, countless people are still reading ‘Ezekiel’ and the rest of the Bible, countless people are still turning to Jesus in repentance-and-faith and gaining eternal life, God is still working out his sovereign purposes in his world in the lead up to Jesus’ Return in power, and the Lord Jesus Christ is still building his Church and storming the ‘gates of hell’ just as he promised (Matthew 16:18).

Thank you, Ezekiel, for the example you set for me by faithfully pressing on because you trusted God’s promises and demonstrated what could be achieved when “the Spirit lifted [you] up, and [you] heard behind [you] a loud rumbling sound – May the glory of the LORD be praised in his dwelling-place!” (Ezekiel 3:12)  This (and everything you record in Chapter 3 of your Prophecy) inspires me to press on, and to be more determined to be faithful, rather than to be ‘successful’!

– Bruce Christian