Taking On A Tough Task      Ezek. 1:1-3; 2:3-5; 3:4-11        June 05-05
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A minister friend thanked the Lord for the many blessings he received during his days at seminary, and told the Lord "you have blessed me so much Lord I will go anywhere." The Lord called him to Las Vegas and he joking said "I will never pray a prayer like that again." But even in that situation the Lord blessed. We need to be prepared for Taking On A Tough Task.

1.    The . . Call of God to a Tough Task. 1:1-3

A.    The . . Details of the Call. 1:1-2
    1 In the thirtieth year, in the fourth [month], on the fifth [day] of the month, while I was among the exiles by the Chebar Canal, the heavens opened and I saw visions of God. 2 On the fifth [day] of the month--it was the fifth year of King Jehoiachin's exile--

B.    The . . Directness of the Call. 1:3
    3 the word of the Lord came directly to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the Chebar Canal. And the Lord's hand was on him there.

    If anyone takes on a tough task it is best to know the Lord led. Ezekiel tells us the details of his call as he knew the year and date when he heard from the Lord. Have you noticed this is not unusual for an Old Testament Prophet? Most ministers I know remember details about the Lord's call on their life. It is a direct call expressly given to the one being called. Ezekiel may have been 30 years of age (as was the requirement for the office of a Levite), and Interestingly John the Baptist, and our Lord began their public ministry at thirty years of age. Some suggest this is thirty years after Hilkiah discovered the Book of the Law. Whoever is correct Ezekiel knew of a direct call of God.

2.    The . . Commissioning of God to a Tough Task. 2:3-5

A.    The . . People of the Commissioning. 2:3
    3 He said to me: "Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites [and] to the rebellious nations who have rebelled against Me. The Israelites and their ancestors have transgressed against Me to this day.

B.    The . . Preaching of the Commissioning. 2:4
    4 The children are obstinate and hardhearted. I am sending you to them, and you must say to them: This is what the Lord God says.

C.    The . . Prophecy of the Commissioning. 2:5
    5 Whether they listen or refuse [to listen]--for they are a rebellious house--they will know that a prophet has been among them.

    Sometimes a tough task simply means God called you to work with difficult people. Ezekiel's call came to go to a rebellious nation, and their rebellion went back to their ancestors. God told his prophet to preach the words, and tell them God told him what to say. The final analysis of this commissioning of God will be the people will know God sent a prophet with His words. What, if anything will transform a troublesome people? Only a prophet of God who boldly proclaims God's Word.

3.    The . . Commitment of God to a Tough Task. 3:4-11

A.    God's Commitment to His . . Methods. v 4-6
    4 Then He said to me: "Son of man, go to the house of Israel and speak My words to them. 5 For you are not being sent to a people of unintelligible speech or difficult language but to the house of Israel. 6 [You are] not [being sent] to many peoples of unintelligible speech or difficult language, whose words you cannot understand. No doubt, if I sent you to them, they would listen to you.

B.    God's Commitment to His . . Message. v 7
    7 But the house of Israel will not want to listen to you because they do not want to listen to Me. For the whole house of Israel is hard-headed and hardhearted.

    What methods does God use to convey His message to His people? He uses whatever method He wants. That is an over simplification but nevertheless very true. His method of commitment will send a gifted preacher to a people who will reject His message. The people rejected the message Ezekiel preached, because they rejected God. Today a man asked me why God allowed a particular action, and I answered "I do not know but I believe He knows what He is doing." It is comforting to know we do not have to answer for God, but to God. It will always comfort the messenger when he knows he shared the Word of God.

4.    The . . Convictions of God for a Tough Task. 3:8-11

A.    Conviction of God to the . . Masque. 3:8-9
    8 Look, I have made your face as hard as their faces and your forehead as hard as their foreheads. 9 I have made your forehead like a diamond, harder than flint. Don't be afraid of them or discouraged by [the look on] their faces, even though they are a rebellious house.

B.    Conviction of God to the . . Message. 3:10-11
    10 Next He said to me: "Son of man, listen carefully to all My words that I speak to you and take [them] to heart. 11 Go to your people, the exiles, and speak to them. Tell them: This is what the Lord God says, whether they listen or refuse [to listen]."

    We have convictions, but does God? I will say His attributes represent the expression
of His convictions. I believe He has a conviction about how to respond to this hard-headed people; as He sends them a hard-headed preacher; a preacher with a head as hard as a diamond. You might say He has a masque for Ezekiel. The preacher is told to not fear the faces of the people. You may have to be a preacher to fully understand that statement but I certainly know what God means. The message from the Word of God is always the same, and is to be communicated from the preachers heart. Ezekiel is certainly an example of one Taking On A Tough Task. Amen? Amen!