Whether They Listen or Not

Text: Ezekiel 2:3-7

Ezekiel was a prophet of God who prophesied in Babylon during the time of the Babylonian captivity. God called him to prophesy to the people “whether they listen or not” (Ezekiel 2:5, 7; 3:11). We are not prophets today like Ezekiel was; but there are some lessons we need to learn, regardless of the capacity in which we teach.

God Sent Ezekiel

  • The message was from God, but it would be given through Ezekiel (Ezekiel 2:3) – standard practice (Hebrews 1:1); not Ezekiel’s decision; he was inspired by God and spoke for God (2 Peter 1:20-21)
  • Similar to the Lord sending His apostles (Mark 16:15-16) – they had a specific mission (Acts 1:8); they were His ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20)
  • In a sense, we have also been sent – not that the Great Commission directly applies to us (Mark 16:15-18), but the NT teaches that all of us have a responsibility to hold forth the word (Philippians 2:16; 1 Peter 3:15); as time goes on, we “ought to be teachers” (Hebrews 5:12); continual development of teachers in the church (2 Timothy 2:2)

Sent to the Sons of Israel

  • Sent to those who were God’s chosen people (Ezekiel 2:3; 3:4; Deuteronomy 7:6) – yet they were in captivity because of their sin (Ezekiel 2:3; 2 Kings 21:12-15); they rebelled against God and His law (Ezekiel 2:3, 6-7)
  • They were ones that should have listened to Ezekiel’s message (Ezekiel 3:6) – they shared a common language (Ezekiel 3:6) so that was not a barrier (cf. Genesis 11:6-9; 1 Corinthians 14:5, 9, 19); they shared a common heritage (Ezekiel 3:4-5)
  • Yet God knew they would not be willing to listen (Ezekiel 3:7) – they were stubborn (hardheaded) and refused to change their mind (cf. Jeremiah 6:16-17, 10; Acts 7:51); they were obstinate (hardhearted) and had lost their sense of shame (cf. Jeremiah 6:15; 1 Timothy 4:2)
  • Sadly, we will encounter many like the Israelites in Ezekiel’s day – God calls to all men (Mark 16:15; Acts 17:30); they are lost because of sin (John 8:34; Romans 6:23), but want to remain in their sin (John 3:19)

The Message

  • The message was to be God’s word (Ezekiel 2:7; 3:4) and he was to fill himself with it (Ezekiel 2;8; 3:1-3, 10) – our message must be God’s word (1 Peter 4:11); we must be filled with the word of God (Hebrews 8:10) and allow it to sustain us (1 Peter 2:2; Hebrews 5:14; John 6:51, 63)
  • Ezekiel was not to change the message to one that would be well-received (Ezekiel 2:5, 7; 3:11) – we also must not change the Lord’s message (Galatians 1:8-9)
  • Ezekiel was not to be discouraged by the people’s rejection (Ezekiel 2:5, 7; 3:11) – we also must not be discouraged when people reject the Lord’s message; instead, we should shake the dust off of our feet and move on to others (Matthew 10:14; Acts 13:46, 51); our responsibility is to teach, not produce results (1 Corinthians 1:17; 3:6)

Ezekiel’s Attitude

  • Submission to God (Ezekiel 2:3, 8) – to teach, we must also obey (Romans 2:21; cf. 1 Peter 3:13-16)
  • No fear of the consequences (Ezekiel 2:6) – do not fear how others might react (1 Peter 3:14; 4:16)
  • Unflinching in his resolve (Ezekiel 3:8-9) – we must obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29)

Conclusion

  • People do not change much from one generation to another – they are stubborn and rebellious today as they were then
  • Our responsibility does not change either – speak the word of God without compromise or fear

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