Ezekiel 1 – 3 Ezekiel found himself celebrating his 30th birthday in Babylon having been recruited by Nebuchadnezzar’s squad of thugs. So goes the birthday! No more being a priest because there is no more temple, no more Jerusalem. Just when life couldn’t get any lower, God steps in and says I am calling you to be my prophet/watchman to your people. God revealed His glory and Ezekiel fell on his face in adoration. Yet when God laid out his plan, filled him with His Spirit, fed him the Word, like Moses, Ezekiel says “why me?”
We fall into the same pattern. God reveals His glory and we are in awe. But then reality steps in and God says I want you to “go and make disciples”–beginning at home. You know the people, you know the language. After traveling over 900 miles with this crew, Ezekiel knew their behavior, attitude, and grumbling. No wonder Ezekiel said, “why me?” No wonder Moses said, “why me?” No wonder we say the exact same words because familiarity breeds contempt. We know their shortcomings. We know their attitudes. We know that they didn’t listen before so why would they listen now?
Do you say “why me?” when God calls you to a ministry? If God fills you with His Spirit, feeds you with His Word, you are ready. Welcome to the Watchman on the Wall Club.
How many times do we lose focus on the end game? Have you lost your dream because your eyes are on the problem before you instead of the Master’s eyes on the problem?
Joshua 17 In Joshua 17 the descendants of Joseph come to Joshua with their complaint: we don’t have enough land. Remember the old saying; open mouth, insert foot? First, they asked a question; why did you only give us this much? We have many people. Joshua responded; well if you have that many people you should be able to conquer the land of the Perizzites and the Rephaites. In other words, don’t just stand there but get up and go! But, his answer was not satisfying to the descendants so they try a different tactic. Well, we can’t because you see the Canaanites live in the valley; they have chariots with iron-rimmed wheels. True to form come the words of Proverbs: The fear of man is a snare but he who trusts in the Lord will be exalted. Joshua essentially said; you have many excuses; you need to “man up” and go and conquer.
There are some practical lessons we can learn from this interchange and what Jesus told the disciples. You must “go,” not stay in one spot and think others will do the work for you. You want disciples; then get up and go and find them. Don’t be satisfied to allow others to get the blessing God has for you.
The Josephites allowed fear to distract them. Joshua encouraged them with “you can do this.” Jesus said ‘no one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Don’t look back, look forward! Go and make disciples! Find some lemons and make lemonade!
I have spent the better part of the morning crying and not just crying but grieving deeply. It matters not for the “what” but it does matter that I grieve with Paul over the loss of loved ones that refuse the gospel message. So here’s my question: What brings grief to your heart? Is it the loss of a loved one to death without hope? How about the loss of a job? How about the loss of a home due to flooding? How about the loss of a nation or a people group? Grief is a very real and present emotion. We are even now watching from the sidelines as Syria is a battle zone. But, Paul is speaking in the first century and his heart grieves for the loss of his people as they continue to deny Christ and salvation. “I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart.” Is this my grief too?
Temporal losses of a job are tough but there is always hope to find another. You can lose a home and its contents but you can build a new one. But you cannot bring back a loved one or restore a nation to wholeness. Grief takes its toll and some never recover. But, the deepest grief is when those you love die and enter a Christless eternity. Paul is grieving and we too should also grieve when this occurs.
It is because of that we must earnestly contend for the faith. We must “go and make disciples.” We must pray for our loved ones who do not know Christ. Paul was willing, just as Moses, to forgo his eternal salvation so that the lost might be saved.
Hebrews chapter 5: The author of Hebrews has not been remiss to remind the reader that even though they are facing persecution and difficulty in their lives they should beware of drifting and disbelief which is part of the disease of the deadly d’s.
Christ is supremely appointed as our high priest according to the order of Melchizedek. He is and was the perfect Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world. As the Son, Jesus is superior to angels, superior to Moses and now superior to Aaron. And yet in his humanity he suffered, prayed deeply, was tempted yet without sin. This is why he could “[become] the source of [our] eternal salvation.”
The next deadly d has to do with diet. The readers were still infants feeding upon milk, the basic principles of the gospel and not feeding upon the meat of the Word. They knew Jn 3:16 but not the greater implication. They were like the disciples who over and over asked: “what does he mean?” They should have been teachers but just want their ears tickled. Instead of hungering, thirsting and being trained to discern truth from error they were satisfied just being spectators leaving the study of the scriptures to others. We see them today in our churches. They come faithfully to service but do not attend classes for instruction and fellowship. They may have accepted the WORD but are not feeding upon the WORD.
We need to be asking if we too are failing. Do I hunger for the solid food of the Word? Can I discern truth from error? Am I obeying Matt 28: “go and make disciples?”