In our study of Ezekiel chapter two, we will look at his call by God to a very difficult ministry. This can be a very inspiring study for those who are actively serving the Lord in a very difficult situation.
He said to me, 'Son of man, stand up on your feet and I will speak to you.'
At the end of chapter 1, we saw that the prophet fell on his face when he found himself in the presence (glory) of God. Then, God addresses him as "Son of man" and this is a title that was only used for two men in the old Testament (the other was the prophet Daniel). This is the same title that was used for Jesus when He came into the earth. The first thing God tells the prophet is to stand up in His presence and this was not the custom of the Jewish people.
As he spoke, the Spirit came into me and raised me to my feet, and I heard him speaking to me.
The prophet did not get up on his own as he was probably in shock at the idea of standing in the presence of God. But, God raised him to his feet by the Holy Spirit. This is a reminder to all of us who wish to serve the Lord that it is only through the power of the Spirit that we can do anything.
He said: 'Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me; they and their fathers have been in revolt against me to this very day.'
The word used here for nation is not the normal word that God used to describe His people. It is, in fact, the word (goyim) that the Jews used to describe Gentiles. The rebellion of the people has gotten so bad that God does not even call them His people. It would be very tough to go to a group of people that have been in rebellion so long. The longer people go without listening to God, the harder it is for them to hear the things of God. It was true of the Israelites and it is just as true today.
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 - they will know that a prophet has been among them.
This had to be a little bit discouraging to Ezekiel as God does not assure him that the people are going to heed his warning. Instead, God assures him that they will know that he was a prophet. This is a reminder for us as well that we are not responsible for whether people listen to the Word of God or not. We are simply to proclaim the Word and trust God to use it for His glory.
'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 terrified by them, though they are a rebellious house.'
Three times in this verse God tells the prophet to not be afraid of the rebellious people. Even though he is surrounded by the disobedient, God has assured him that He is in control and so there is no need to fear any man. The same can be said for us as we serve the Lord and face opposition.
You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen, for they are rebellious.
God repeats the call to speak no matter what the outcome. Two is the number of legal witnesses throughout the Bible and when God repeats something it is of great importance.
'But you, son of man, listen to what I say to you. Do not rebel like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you.'
God continues to tell Ezekiel to be obedient and here is a big test. When God tells him to eat, he must have been thinking "eat what" because he was not around any food. The command did not make any sense to him but God is showing him and us that our obedience has to continue even when our understanding fails us. We have to remember that He knows all things and failing to obey is rebellion against God.
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.
Now, a hand is extended that contains a scroll which has the Ten Commandments written on it. On the front are the laws concerning man's relationship with God and on the back are the laws concerning man's relationship with their fellow man. These are words of "lament and mourning and woe" because man cannot keep the law perfectly for salvation and so there is no hope in the laws only conviction.