A FAITH THAT SHINES BRIGHTLY IN DARK TIMES
» Is your faith stormproof… able to withstand the storms of life? Is your faith fireproof… able to stand firm when your beliefs are under fire?
Faith is a powerful force in the kingdom of God. It is the force by which He works in our lives. When faced with the impossible, we see the God of the impossible working through our faith. Our trust is to rest resolutely in this mighty God.
The prophet Ezekiel is a man of resilient faith. As with all Old Testament names, his name is significant… “God makes strong”. Ezekiel’s rise to importance is at a dark time in Israel’s history. King Nebuchadnezzar has captured Jerusalem, sending the elite into exile in Babylonia. Ezekiel is one of these Jewish exiles evicted from their homeland
Coming from a long line of priests, Ezekiel is in training to become a priest himself. He is one of the privileged few in the Bible who experiences a vision of the Most High God. In this foreign land, on the banks of the Kebar River, Ezekiel receives God’s call upon his life…
“The appearance of the brilliant light all around Him was like that of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord.” – Ezekiel 1:28
Overwhelmed at this glimpse of the glory of Jehovah, Ezekiel falls face down before the Almighty One…
“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.” – Ezekiel 2:3
God anoints Ezekiel to be His prophet, His agent, His light in these dark times… to speak His words of warning and impending judgment, with His authority, to the exiles…
“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.” – Ezekiel 2:6
Ezekiel is commanded to be faithful in proclaiming God’s message in the midst of the fires and storms of opposition...
“Listen carefully and take to heart all the words I speak to you. Go now to your people in exile and speak to them. Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says,’ whether they listen or fail to listen.” – Ezekiel 3:10-11
God hands Ezekiel a scroll… a scroll with words of lament and woe. He commands that the prophet eat the scroll and speak its words to the people. This act is symbolic of Ezekiel’s accepting God’s message in his heart and making it a part of his life before preaching it.
The scroll tastes like honey to portray that Ezekiel’s joy of serving Jehovah will be greater than the resistance and opposition he will face. The prophet is assured that he is not responsible for how the people receive his message. His mission is to proclaim God’s warning so the hearers will be without excuse.
“I will make you as unyielding and hardened as they are.” – Ezekiel 3:8-9
God vows to make Ezekiel strong… stronger than his adversaries. His faith will be immovable, unshakable, resilient before a stubborn and hostile people.
“The hand of the Lord rested powerfully on me.” – Ezekiel 3:14
The key to Ezekiel’s challenging mission – God’s promise that He will be always with him. The prophet will be emboldened by the power of the Most High God. It will be the power of the Almighty that will prevail not his own.
“I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from Me.” – Ezekiel 3:17
God commissions Ezekiel to be a watchman to His people. In biblical times, watchmen were to protect the city from danger or enemy invasion. They would stand guard on the city walls or ramparts. At any sign of threat or enemy attack, the watchmen would sound the alarm to warn the people.
Ezekiel is to be a spiritual watchman to God’s people in exile. The prophet must warn the people of the dangers that will come upon them if they refuse to turn from their sinful ways. Through Ezekiel, God offers an opportunity for repentance, for He wants no one to perish.
Some of the exiles are the faithful remnant true to Jehovah. Some have been disloyal to Jehovah, living lives of sin and rebellion, hard-headed and hard-hearted. Some have even abandoned Jehovah to worship other gods. It is to these last two groups that Ezekiel is called to preach.
Ezekiel remains tenacious and unyielding despite opposition from the Jewish exiles. He bravely speaks God’s prophetic words to warn the people of the consequences of breaking their covenant with Jehovah. The prophet exhorts the people to give up their wicked, rebellious ways or face certain judgment.
“Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.” – Ephesians 6:10
» Is your faith strong enough to persevere in difficult times? Does your faith stand resolutely against those who oppose your beliefs? Or does your faith crumble in times of adversity?
Resilient faith faces storms and trials with a trust in the Almighty that is steady and unbreakable. It stays true to God when faced with opposition. Resilient faith stands tall in a fallen world… shines forth brightly in dark times… and overcomes by the power of Christ.
Jesus has commissioned us to be spiritual watchmen for the people like Ezekiel. Our word from God is His Word to us. As we take it to heart, it becomes a part of our lives. Our message is then genuine and Spirit-led when we take it to the lost. Our joy in serving Christ is our reward.
As watchmen, we bravely stand atop the proverbial ramparts and speak the hope of the gospel… share the Light of Christ… and warn of the consequences of a life apart from Him. Like Ezekiel, we are not responsible for what the people do with our words and our warnings if we speak God’s truth. We are only to be faithful to His call.