Today: [Ezekiel 3] God Makes Ezekiel’s Forehead Like Flint. In this chapter Ezekiel eats the scroll given to him by God. He is then sent to a people described as a rebellious house. Ezekiel has much difficulty facing this but is warned that blood is on his hands if he refuses to obey. There are times that we will face such difficult circumstance. While it is not pleasant the promise of God is that He will sustain us as in the case of Ezekiel and give us courage to deliver his words to a resistant people.
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[Eze 3:1-27 KJV] 1 Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel. 2 So I opened my mouth, and he caused me to eat that roll. 3 And he said unto me, Son of man, cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee. Then did I eat [it]; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness. 4 And he said unto me, Son of man, go, get thee unto the house of Israel, and speak with my words unto them. 5 For thou [art] not sent to a people of a strange speech and of an hard language, [but] to the house of Israel; 6 Not to many people of a strange speech and of an hard language, whose words thou canst not understand. Surely, had I sent thee to them, they would have hearkened unto thee. 7 But the house of Israel will not hearken unto thee; for they will not hearken unto me: for all the house of Israel [are] impudent and hardhearted. 8 Behold, I have made thy face strong against their faces, and thy forehead strong against their foreheads. 9 As an adamant harder than flint have I made thy forehead: fear them not, neither be dismayed at their looks, though they [be] a rebellious house.
After the vision of the glory of God by the river Chebar, Ezekiel sees a scroll spread out, full of lamentation and woe. He is commanded to eat the scroll in preparation to go and speak to the house of Israel, the captives with him at Chebar. He complies and to his surprise finds that this dreadful document is sweet as honey in his mouth. This shows us that in scripture honey speaks to us of the prophetic word. In the book of Judges, the prophetess Deborah’s name means “a bee”, and of course bees produce honey just as a prophet produces the prophetic word. When God tells Moses that the people are coming into a land filled with milk and honey it speaks to us of the place God has for the believer in this life, filled with milk (the sincere milk of the word 1 Peter 2:2) and honey (the prophetic word). As milk represents the logos of the scripture brought to us, even so honey represents the rhema of the prophetic. When Hebrews 4:12 tells us of the two-edged sword of God’s word we are speaking of these two distinct aspects of how God speaks to us, in the logos of the scripture (the milk of the word) and the rhema of the prophetic (honey). Peter referred to this applicational aspect of the word as “present truth”:
[2Pe 1:12 KJV] 12 Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know [them], and be established in the present truth.
In Acts 20:27 Paul speaks of declaring the whole counsel of God. Part of that includes what Peter is speaking of. It is the voice of authority emphasizing in a particular group or season the application of the logos (scripture) through the instrumentality of the rhema (the prophetic). Without both of these dual elements present we are not hearing or embracing the whole counsel of God.
10 Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, all my words that I shall speak unto thee receive in thine heart, and hear with thine ears. 11 And go, get thee to them of the captivity, unto the children of thy people, and speak unto them, and tell them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear. 12 Then the spirit took me up, and I heard behind me a voice of a great rushing, [saying], Blessed [be] the glory of the LORD from his place. 13 [I heard] also the noise of the wings of the living creatures that touched one another, and the noise of the wheels over against them, and a noise of a great rushing. 14 So the spirit lifted me up, and took me away, and I went in bitterness, in the heat of my spirit; but the hand of the LORD was strong upon me. 15 Then I came to them of the captivity at Telabib, that dwelt by the river of Chebar, and I sat where they sat, and remained there astonished among them seven days.
Ezekiel is told that God will make his face strong against those who are resistant to his message. His forehead will be harder than an adamant stone. Why? Because he is being sent to a people who are a rebellious house. They are captives in Babylon, they have suffered the destruction of their nation, because of their own generational sin, but they are completely unwilling to face the reality of their situation or their responsibility for the transgressions that have brought them to this place. What is an adamant stone? And adamant stone is a diamond. The word describes something that scratches or etches upon something else. Ezekiel’s words are going to be etched on the stubborn hearts of a people completely resistant to truth. His forehead will be like flint. Understand that this is more than just being obstinate toward God’s people. Many preachers get up and put on a show of obstinacy in their preaching, a mocking derision over God’s people. This is not what God is speaking of. Moses took this tone with the people in Number 12:10 and because of it was refused entrance into the land of Canaan. The adamant nature God calls for in His servants is about resolute faithfulness to declare the word of God regardless of the opinion of men. There is a fine line between condemnatory preaching and obediently conferring the message that God has anointed you to declare. The difference in the character of your message however, can determine as in Moses case whether you enter into your destiny or are shut out because you have abused God’s people falsely in His name.
16 And it came to pass at the end of seven days, that the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 17 Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. 18 When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked [man] shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. 19 Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. 20 Again, When a righteous [man] doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand. 21 Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous [man], that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul. 22 And the hand of the LORD was there upon me; and he said unto me, Arise, go forth into the plain, and I will there talk with thee. 23 Then I arose, and went forth into the plain: and, behold, the glory of the LORD stood there, as the glory which I saw by the river of Chebar: and I fell on my face. 24 Then the spirit entered into me, and set me upon my feet, and spake with me, and said unto me, Go, shut thyself within thine house. 25 But thou, O son of man, behold, they shall put bands upon thee, and shall bind thee with them, and thou shalt not go out among them: 26 And I will make thy tongue cleave to the roof of thy mouth, that thou shalt be dumb, and shalt not be to them a reprover: for they [are] a rebellious house. 27 But when I speak with thee, I will open thy mouth, and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; He that heareth, let him hear; and he that forbeareth, let him forbear: for they [are] a rebellious house.
Ezekiel comes to the people at Chebar and sits astonished before them many days, apparently without speaking. The spirit of God in the vision of the plain actually fills him and takes him to the people, yet there is seeming delay. God again speaks to him that he is a watchman, accountable to say what the Father tells him to say. In verse 18 Ezekiel is warned that if he restrains his words and does not communicate the message of the scroll that there will be blood guiltiness upon him for his refusal to speak. I remember a time that God revealed to me in a dream that a man I knew was going to go to prison. I went to him and told him what God told me to say and that the Lord’s instruction for him was to plead guilty. If he plead guilty God’s promise was that He would give this man his life back after he paid for his crimes. It was no small thing to tell this man this because he was in a very angry state and had murder in his heart. We drove to the man’s home in rural Missouri and gave him the word. The man rejected what was said, and his whole life was utterly destroyed and he was sent to prison for the rest of his life.
Another time God sent me to a church my father had just resigned from as pastor because of church trouble. I resisted going because I knew if I showed up at this church there would be trouble. Eventually the Father commanded me to go and when I did an altercating occurred where I was struck in the face by one of the trouble makers, in front of the entire congregation. It wasn’t pleasant, but I obeyed God. I had no desire to stir controversy, but I had every intention to do what God said do regardless of the outcome or the personal impact on my own life. There will be times, if you purpose to hear God’s voice and not put fingers in your ears to shut out what He says, that you will be called upon to speak truth. It isn’t about running roughshod over people. In these instances, I did not pronounce judgment or speak harshly at all. I simply obeyed God to go where he directed and say what He instructed, as you must do when He commands you to do likewise.
Ezekiel finds this very difficult and God commands him to go and shut himself in his house. He is further told that when he does obey that he will be bound and not allowed to be a reprove among the people. God then causes Ezekiel’s power of speech to cease as in the case of John the Baptist’s father who was struck dumb for questioning the angel announcing his son’s birth. Ezekiel’s power of speech will be taken from him but he is warned that God will open his mouth when necessary to speak truth, even though the people will not hear because they are a rebellious house. In our own situations, there are going to be times where you have to make a choice: are you going to be Ezekiel, or are you going to be the rebellious house? There is no third option. Refusal to make a choice is a choice. Saying you don’t want to get involved is another form of rebellion. These times when you experience them are difficult and very uncomfortable, but as in Ezekiel’s case they are not to be avoided but to be embraced as an opportunity to obey the Father in all things.
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