Then there came a voice from above the vault over their heads as they stood with lowered wings. Above the vault over their heads was what looked like a throne of lapis lazuli, and high above on the throne was a figure like that of a man. I saw that from what appeared to be his waist up he looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and that from there down he looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded him. Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him.
This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking.
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 ancestors 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 people—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 be terrified by them, though they are a rebellious people. 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 people; open your mouth and eat what I give you.”
Then I looked, and I saw a hand stretched out to me. In it was a scroll, which he unrolled before me. On both sides of it were written words of lament and mourning and woe.
Can you see the sight?
A man, glowing, white hot metal. Brilliant light all around Him, impossible to look at with human eyes. Every colour imaginable was there – a radiance that emanated from His person.
The majesty speaks to Ezekiel. He gives Ezekiel dignity and a message to give to the Israelites. It is a difficult message, and Ezekiel has to tell it to a stubborn and rebellious people who always refuse to listen to God’s voice.
Ezekiel is to speak, weather they listen or not. He is not to be intimidated or bowed down by the rejection. Ezekiel must listen and take into himself what God is giving to him.
The message is a hard and searching one. It is a lament, words of mourning and promises of woe…. How will Ezekiel speak this to these hardened people?
And he said to me, “Son of man, eat what is before you, eat this scroll; then go and speak to the people of Israel.” So I opened my mouth, and he gave me the scroll to eat.
Then he said to me, “Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it.” So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth.
He then said to me: “Son of man, go now to the people of Israel and speak my words to them. You are not being sent to a people of obscure speech and strange language, but to the people of Israel not to many peoples of obscure speech and strange language, whose words you cannot understand. Surely if I had sent you to them, they would have listened to you. But the people of Israel are not willing to listen to you because they are not willing to listen to me, for all the Israelites are hardened and obstinate. But I will make you as unyielding and hardened as they are. I will make your forehead like the hardest stone, harder than flint. Do not be afraid of them or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious people.”
God’s servant Ezekiel, must be able to stand against the ill- will and bad feeling of the people who God wants to receive this message. The people are very stubborn, but God still wants to speak to them, and so His servant, Ezekiel, must be emotionally and spiritually prepared to confront the stubbornness and speak the truth. If hearts are hard, then the prophet’s resolve must be harder. If the arguments are fierce, then his speaking of truth must be straight and firm. If they terrify him, he must strengthen himself in the power of the Lord. This is a wonderful lesson for us all in the difficult culture we live in. The message of God and the power of the Spirit are sufficient for all circumstances. The love of a Saviour who died, to rescue us form the hardness of our own hearts is the overwhelming truth that prevails. He can melt any heart and forgive and redeem any sinful situation.
The challenge is to be obedient like Ezekiel and remain steadfastly by the truth of God’s word, as He sees it, not as we see it. This spiritual conflict will cost us, and we will not enjoy popularity and earthly reward, but many suffer isolation and ridicule, but our Saviour went before us and we will not fear. To enjoy the understanding of God’s word and to have fellowship with God, is surely worth all the sufferings of this life.
As we look at this amazing picture of the Lord Jesus Christ, we realize that what we see with our physical eyes, is not necessarily how it is. Those who look to Him with the eyes of faith, see the risen and glorified Lord who stands forever in power and authority over all situations. No one can touch Him. He alone is our motivation and source of what we say – nothing else, no one else. He can make the weak strong, and can correct the misconceptions we all have about His person. He alone plans the course of the life of the Christian, and He will bring all things to pass according to His perfect will.
We need not fear. We must be bold and strong, and stand in the strength of the Lord. We take to ourselves these self-evident truths, and go forward in his strength, confident in His blessed purposes and seeking out His glory always. b