“Son of Man, I am sending you to the nation of Israel, a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me... They are a stubborn and hard-hearted people. But I am sending you to say to them, 'This is what the sovereign Lord says,' and whether they listen or refuse to listen-at least they will know they have had a prophet among them. Son of Man, do not fear them or their words. Don't be afraid even though their threats surround you like nettles and briers and stinging scorpions. Do not be dismayed by their dark scowls, even though they are rebels. You must give them my messages whether they listen or not. But they won't listen, for they are completely rebellious. Son of man, listen to what I say to you. Do not join them in their rebellion.” (Ezekiel 2:3-8)
Ezekiel was a prophet of the Old Testament who lived during a time when the Israelites were basically out of control. They were disobedient and disgraced their sacred covenant with God. God was completely fed-up with their behavior, so he issued warnings to the Israelites through Ezekiel. One of the many wonderful truths about God is that he will always warn us about impending trouble in order to give us time to repent and turn back to him. It is never God's will to see us fall.
God not only charged Ezekiel to deliver his message to the Israelites, but he also warned Ezekiel not to join the Israelites in their rebellion. In other words, God’s expectation was for Ezekiel to remain set apart. Choosing to be set apart is counterintuitive to the way we typically like to do things. For most of us, the goal is to blend in and not rock the boat. For those of you who choose to follow Christ, I’m here to tell you that the boat not only needs to be rocked-it needs to be completely flipped over!
The world is becoming increasingly wicked, so we must be fully committed to spreading the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, no matter how unpopular or inconvenient that truth may be. We currently live in what I like to call a "yeah, but" society where we make concessions where no concessions should be made in the name of going along to get along. Christians are not afforded the luxury of simply going along to get along.
Think about some of the popular figures of the Bible. With backing from God, Moses confronted Pharaoh and led the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. Jonah went into Nineveh, a nation of Gentiles, and warned them about the coming consequences if they refused to repent and turn from their evil ways; and all but one of the apostles died horrific deaths for the sake of the spreading the Gospel. These people often spoke before audiences who were less than eager to hear what they had to say. Nevertheless, they were called by God and answered the call. They were all set apart from the rest of the world, and as a result, God was able to use them to create tremendous change in the world.
Sin and disobedience have spread like wildfire, and more people are setting the fires than those who are actually working to put them out. Sex, murder, profanity and obscenity, selfishness, greed and lack of compassion are literally on display everywhere-on television, social media, the radio, in schools, the workplace, everywhere. At the end of the day, our very souls are at stake. The enemy is hard at work, so we need to be in synch with God at all times. When all is said and done, we want to hear the Lord say, "Well done, my good and faithful servant." A good and faithful servant is bold and trusts that Christ will give them the courage to say what needs to be said. Good seeds can, and often are, planted in the hearts of a hostile audience, so let us speak the truth at all times. We owe it to each other. Like Ezekiel, we have been called to deliver a message to the world. Can the Lord send you?
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