When God calls, we must respond in obedience.
Why does God call us to do his work?
In scripture are so many stories about people God “called and enabled” to do his work. In the context of these accounts, we find that God does this for a variety of reasons. When we examine God’s call of Moses, for example, we see that God wanted to deliver the Hebrews From Slavery and lead them to the promised land. That’s exactly what happened, by God working through Moses.
While the immediate circumstances surrounding God’s call may vary, his ultimate purpose for calling us to do his work does not. God “calls us to participate” in his mission to redeem the world.
1. EZEKIEL’S VISION
A. Ezekiel’s World
1 Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river of Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God.
2 In the fifth day of the month, which was the fifth year of king Jehoiachin’s captivity,
3 The word of the LORD came expressly (clearly stated and expressed) unto Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the LORD was there upon him.
…….As clearly stated in scripture, Ezekiel was 30 years old when he first started seeing the visions of the Lord. He had also been in Babylonian captivity with King Jehoiachin (vs.2) for nearly 5 years.
In 597 BC, Nebuchadnezzar seized Jerusalem and sent Jehoiachin and thousands of prominent citizens- including Royal officials, soldiers, and artisans- into exile away from Judah.
……. The Ezekiel was in captivity, the word does not fail to mention this; “and the hand of the LORD was there upon him.” No matter our circumstances surrounding us, when the Lord calls and speaks he will always keep his hedge of protection around us. He has purposed us to do his work and if we allow and obey, it will happen.
B. Description of God’s Glory, His Chariot and Throne!
4 And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber, out of the midst of the fire.
5 Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man.
6 And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings.
7 And their feet were straight feet; and the sole of their feet was like the sole of a calf’s foot: and they sparkled like the colour of burnished brass.
8 And they had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and they four had their faces and their wings.
9 Their wings were joined one to another; they turned not when they went; they went every one straight forward.
10 As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle.
……. These Angelic creatures had an unusual appearance. In addition to human features they had the faces of a human, a lion, an ox, and an eagle. While humans are considered rulers over all the animals, Lions were considered rulers over the wild animals, Oxen rulers of the domesticated animals, and Eagles rulers of the birds of the air. It seems, then, that the appearance of these cherubim reflects God’s lordship over all.
11 Thus were their faces: and their wings were stretched upward; two wings of every one were joined one to another, and two covered their bodies.
12 And they went every one straight forward: whither the spirit was to go, they went; and they turned not when they went.
……. The direction of the cherubim never changed. This could be a representation of God’s Direction. He will always stay the same according to his word, he is the same yesterday today and forever more!
13 As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, and like the appearance of lamps: it went up and down among the living creatures; and the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning.
14 And the living creatures ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning.
15 Now as I beheld the living creatures, behold one wheel upon the earth by the living creatures, with his four faces.
16 The appearance of the wheels and their work was like unto the colour of a beryl: and they four had one likeness: and their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel.
20 Whithersoever the spirit was to go, they went, thither was their spirit to go; and the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels.
……. The wheels Ezekiel wrote of where the wheels of God’s Chariot throne. Based on the prophets description, it seems each was formed as two wheels that intersected, allowing them to go in any direction according to the moving of the spirit without turning. Wherever the living creatures moved, the Chariot would follow. One possibility for the meaning here is that God can move in any direction he pleases, any time he desires. The mobility of The Chariot Throne was not random. God was directing it.
(Vs. 22-27) after the Chariot Throne description, Ezekiel proceeded to describe a sparkling firmament above the Cherubim’s heads. This platform supported God’s Throne, which appeared to be made of precious stone that had the appearance of sapphire. Sitting on the throne was one whose likeness was as the appearance of man. This was the Lord himself, manifested in Splendid Glory.
Finally, in verse 28, Ezekiel described his response to the vision God gave him. Upon seeing in his vision the Cherubim, God’s throne, and even God himself, Ezekiel fell on his face, moved to Humble himself before the Lord.
Question: With the knowing that God doesn’t change mind of his calling, what is your response to the calling of the Lord?
2. EZEKIEL’S CALL
A. Speak God’s Word
1 And he said unto me, Son of man, stand upon thy feet, and I will speak unto thee.
2 And the spirit entered into me when he spake unto me, and set me upon my feet, that I heard him that spake unto me.
3 And he said unto me, Son of man, I send thee to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that hath rebelled against me: they and their fathers have transgressed against me, evenunto this very day.
……. With God calling Ezekiel son of man, (over 90 times) it was a way of saying that the prophet was frail and flawed like other humans.
4 For they are impudent children and stiffhearted. I do send thee unto them; and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD.
5 And they, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, (for they area rebellious house,) yet shall know that there hath been a prophet among them.
……. The spot is ezekiel’s flaws, God placed the Holy Spirit within him (1, 2), and worked in his life by the Holy Spirit and called him to Proclaim his word. When God calls, he will not leave us powerless not comfortless!
B. Do Not Fear or Rebel
6 And thou, son of man, be not afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns bewith thee, and thou dost dwell among scorpions: be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house.
7 And thou shalt speak my words unto them, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear: for they are most rebellious.
8 But thou, son of man, hear what I say unto thee; Be not thou rebellious like that rebellious house: open thy mouth, and eat that I give thee.
……. Even though the calling at times seems to be painful, we are still called for the purpose. This was a sure sign and warning that there will be trouble in the path, but God is encouraging us to face it with a Heart of Courage. Keep your focus in times of enduring, for God will provide the words and anointing!
3. EZEKIEL’S CHALLENGE
A. Hardened Audience
9 And when I looked, behold, an hand was sent unto me; and, lo, a roll of a book was therein;
10 And he spread it before me; and it was written within and without: and there was written therein lamentations, and mourning, and woe.
3: 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.
……. The eating of the scroll is a representation of what God’s call can appear to be from the beginning. To the carnal eye it can be something so ridiculous or way out of the ordinary, but after it is accepted and the work begins, there is a sweetness in the call that satisfies the soul.
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.
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.
……. Let’s put ourselve’s in Ezekiel’s shoes for a moment. How hard would it be to answer a call that God specifically tells us will not have immediate success. God warned Ezekiel from the beginning that the people he would be speaking to were strong willed, spiritually stubborn and hard-hearted.
Even in this, God assured Ezekiel that he had prepared him for this call.
……. Reference the part that says he would harden his forehead as Flint.
He was preparing Ezekiel against emotional discouragement from those who would not accept the word of God. Many of our preachers and teachers today need to take this to heart. Not everyone will like us nor will they accept what “thus saith the Lord” through his man. We should never let emotions of others control or distract the work of God!
B. Angered in His Spirit
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.
……. Many can interpret this passage of scripture as Ezekiel being bitter because of disappointment in what his task was. I personally believe that he for the first time seen what God seen in his people. The prophet would deliver God’s message in the manner in which it was given: anger and judgment.
When we become bitter because people don’t react to the Holy Spirit and word as we would like, we should never let this deter our work.
So Ezekiel was better in his work, he became one of the greatest prophets That Ever Walked and had relationship with God.