Today: [Ezekiel 2] The Call of Ezekiel. Chapter 2 of Ezekiel describes a conversation with God’s voice out of the vision of the wheel within the wheel. The context of the entire vision of the glory of God by the river Chebar in chapter 1 is to set the backdrop of God explaining Ezekiel’s calling as a prophet. After this experience, there will be no question in Ezekiel’s heart regarding his commissioning. What is your call? We are told in 1 Peter 1:10. Many people today who should have taken greater care to gain clarity over their calling have marginalized the idea of receiving a crisis experience calling as Ezekiel in this chapter in Paul on the road to Damascus.
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[Eze 2:1-10 KJV] 1 And he said unto me, Son of man, stand upon thy feet, and I will speak unto thee. 2 And the spirit entered into me when he spake unto me, and set me upon my feet, that I heard him that spake unto me. 3 And he said unto me, Son of man, I send thee to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that hath rebelled against me: they and their fathers have transgressed against me, [even] unto this very day. 4 For [they are] impudent children and stiffhearted. I do send thee unto them; and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD. 5 And they, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, (for they [are] a rebellious house,) yet shall know that there hath been a prophet among them. 6 And thou, son of man, be not afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns [be] with thee, and thou dost dwell among scorpions: be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they [be] a rebellious house. 7 And thou shalt speak my words unto them, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear: for they [are] most rebellious. 8 But thou, son of man, hear what I say unto thee; Be not thou rebellious like that rebellious house: open thy mouth, and eat that I give thee. 9 And when I looked, behold, an hand [was] sent unto me; and, lo, a roll of a book [was] therein; 10 And he spread it before me; and it [was] written within and without: and [there was] written therein lamentations, and mourning, and woe.
Chapter 1 concludes with the prophet Ezekiel prostrate before the vision of the glory of God and the wheel within the wheel. Out of this vision of glory the voice of God speaks and the first thing Ezekiel hears is a command to stand on his feet. This is interesting because it reveals the heart of God in regard to His commiseration with the sons of men. In Dan. 10:11 Daniel falls prostrate before the angel that appeared to him and is told to stand upright upon his feet. In Matt. 17:7 when the disciples fell on their face before the transfigured Christ He comforted them and told them to get to their feet and be not afraid. In Acts 9:6 when Jesus appeared to Saul on the road to Damascus he was commanded to get to his feet. Falling on your face is a sign of obeisance and worship and it is appropriate that we should do so, however God is interested in more than to see man groveling before Him. He wants us up and to be about His business. He wants to have face to face communion with us so that we can carry His message, as is the case with Ezekiel in this passage.
Verse 2 tells us that Ezekiel did not get to his feet until the spirit of God entered into him and brings him upright almost without his own volition to do so. We have heard it said that God will not make you do something without your collaboration but here is an example of a spiritual experience so overwhelming that Ezekiel is almost an observer to the experience, seeing himself interacting with God beyond his own sense of interaction or cooperation.
The message that God gives to Ezekiel is regarding his calling as a prophet. He is sent to a rebellious nation who has generational transgressed and that “even unto this day”. Why is this phrase included? Because the people are in captivity. The temple is destroyed. The city of Jerusalem is leveled. The southern and northern kingdoms are not only conquered, they are emptied and without inhabitant, all due to centuries of disobedience, idolatry and sin. Yet even in this state of inveterate iniquity God still sends His servants to speak to these impudent and stiff hearted children. You would think that some of the godly in Judah would be surprised to see God still patiently working among such a resistant people. Often you will hear people in their opinions say God will not work with that group or this group, or that person or this person. I remember witnessing the move of God among the Charismatic Catholic community and as a young pastor I was amazed and puzzled that God would be so involved with people who prayed to saints, believed in the superstition of transubstantiation, etc.. The Father led me to know that God is involved in anything that people are involved in. It is decadent for a church or a group or individual to say God will not be among this denomination, or this situation or that. Always remember that even in your conviction that you are walking on the cutting edge of His purposes, He is tolerating just as much contaminated human nature in your life as He is in that group or person that you reject.
Verse 5 clarifies the metric by which Ezekiel can measure his success in the calling he is commissioned to. Whether the people hear or forbear they will know there is a prophet among them. Even today the prophetic is only marginally tolerated in a few segments of Christian culture. Even where there are groups claiming to champion the prophetic, too often it is more about embracing populist, charismatic personalities than it is about embracing the institution of the prophet as a whole. We accept pastors as a ubiquitous component of the religious culture we are a part of. We do not require a pastor to be well known, or popular in order to serve in our midst. However in the prophetic we demand bonafides regarding the authenticity of their call that is contrary to the tenor of God’s description to Ezekiel of what he is called to. God tells Ezekiel whether the people get it or not the important thing is obedience. God has not called you to be successful, He has called you, a Ezekiel was called, to be obedient.
In verse 6 using symbolic language the Father tells Ezekiel not to be afraid of the words of the people. He will be among thorns, briers and scorpions. This is figurative language. What are thorns and briers? In Matt. 13:22 the seed that fell among thorns was in the ground of men’s hearts that are choked by the cares of this life and the deceitfulness of riches. Therefore, we see that Ezekiel is among a people distracted and misled by hedonism, materialistic goals and are fearful and worried. In the last days we are told society will be characterized by men’s hearts failing them for fear. Heart disease is the number one leading cause of death today. Stress is a number one killer. The Father doesn’t cite this as something that the people are victimized by but as a transgression. Rev. 21:8 tells us that the fearful lead murderers and the adulterous in the pit. Why do leaders reject the prophetic? Not for any feigned concern for their flock, because they fear anything they cannot control.
Ezekiel is also told he will be among scorpions. What do the scorpions represent? Jesus told His followers in Luke 10:19 they would have power over serpents and scorpions. This is figurative language. What is a serpent? A serpent represents a demonic spirit. Twice in the book of Revelations Satan is called “that old serpent, the devil” (Rev. 12:9; 20:2). It is interesting there are so many references to Satan as a member of the animal kingdom. Why doesn’t the revelator call him “that old fallen angel?”. The contemporary theology of Christian orthodoxy may be exalting the enemy far above his actual station in the order of things. What is the scorpion? If the serpent is a spirit – a demon spirit, what is a scorpion? A serpent has fangs and a scorpion has a sting. 1 Cor. 15:56 tells us that the sting of the scorpion is sin which brings death. What does sin proceed from? Sin proceeds from the sinner. Not just from what he does but from what he is. Man, outside of Christ is a sinner in his nature. He is a fallen creature eligible for grace, yet outside of grace by transgression. If the serpent is a demonic spirit, then it follows by extrapolation that the scorpion is an unsanctified human spirit that in Ezekiel’s case, he is told to expect opposition from. When you are come against by man, you are dealing with what Jesus called scorpions, and you have authority over the scorpion. As the case with Moses over Pharaoh, when someone comes against you or accuses or blames you that makes you as god over them by declaration of the word of God.
Ezekiel is commanded that though the people are rebellious that his task is to speak God’s words to them. The warning is not to become rebellious like them. When you are sent to a resistant people, if you do not walk in forgiveness and patience, you will be in danger of becoming just like them. The people of God in the wilderness with Moses were full of anger and complaint, and Moses wearied with leading them. In Numbers 10:20-21 Moses demonstrated the same error that he was preaching against regarding the people when he himself because angry and complaining in nature when he called the people rebels in the act of disobeying God Himself when he struck the rock instead of speaking to it. When we do not walk in forgiveness and allow the internal influence of God to eclipse the external influence of the people and their condition, we are in danger of excluding ourselves from the outcome God has promised, as was the case with Moses.
The chapter concludes with Ezekiel being given a command to open his mouth, not to speak, but first to eat what is given him, a roll, or scroll full of lamentation, mourning and woe. Someone once remarked that God’s command is “where I lead thee thou wilt follow and what I feed thee thou wilt swallow…” In the call of God we are not left to ourselves to establish the tenor of our message or our ministry. We are constrained as Ezekiel is constrained, standing upon his feet, in the plain, transfixed by the vision of the wheel within the wheel and the living creatures as God’s voice bellows as a wind from glory over his person.
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