“But you, son of man, hear what I say to you. Do not be rebellious like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you.”
Ezekiel played a pivotal role in the history of Israel. His ministry took place during the seventy years of captivity. It was, no doubt, largely responsible for motivating the generation that would renounce idolatry and repatriate the land. Although he was used in a mighty way, the early chapters reveal that his ministry was difficult. He faced the most difficult opposition that a missionary will ever face, hardened hearts. He was told in advance that the people were rebellious, impudent, stubborn; their hearts were as hard as flint stone. Ezekiel was also given the secret to a successful ministry among the hardhearted. He was told,
“But you, son of man, hear what I say to you. Do not be rebellious…”
The rebellion of the people was not used as an excuse for Ezekiel to disobey God. Instead, their hardheartedness made his obedience all the more critical. Often, the reason we are less than faithful in ministry is because of the difficulty of the task. We start out with a sense of calling, which is soon overshadowed by the opposition we face. In many cases, the difficulty causes us to give up, surrender, retreat, or at least hit the pause button, hoping things will get easier.
Ezekiel sets an important example for all of us. He was a man who knew the difficulty he faced required a deeper commitment to faithfulness. He did not let the rebellion of the people justify his rebellion against the call of God. If you are facing hard hearts in your attempts to share Christ with others, the solution is not to give up. Resolve to seek strength from the Lord, pray more specifically for the lost, and continue your efforts to win souls for the kingdom of Heaven.