Thursday, May 12
Reader: “Son of man, let all my words sink deep”
Response: “into your own heart first.”
Scripture: Ezekiel 2:8-3:11
Son of man, listen to what I say to you. Do not join them in their rebellion. Open your mouth, and eat what I give you.”
Then I looked and saw a hand reaching out to me. It held a scroll, which he unrolled. And I saw that both sides were covered with funeral songs, words of sorrow, and pronouncements of doom.
The voice said to me, “Son of man, eat what I am giving you—eat this scroll! Then go and give its message to the people of Israel.” So I opened my mouth, and he fed me the scroll. “Fill your stomach with this,” he said. And when I ate it, it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth.
Then he said, “Son of man, go to the people of Israel and give them my messages. I am not sending you to a foreign people whose language you cannot understand. No, I am not sending you to people with strange and difficult speech. If I did, they would listen! But the people of Israel won’t listen to you any more than they listen to me! For the whole lot of them are hard-hearted and stubborn. But look, I have made you as obstinate and hard-hearted as they are. I have made your forehead as hard as the hardest rock! So don’t be afraid of them or fear their angry looks, even though they are rebels.”
Then he added, “Son of man, let all my words sink deep into your own heart first. Listen to them carefully for yourself. Then go to your people in exile and say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says!’ Do this whether they listen to you or not.”
You’ve noticed that God referred to Ezekiel as ‘son of man,’ the same phrase Jesus used to refer to himself, though Ezekiel never used the phrase in referring to himself.
(Hebrew ben-’adam “son of Adam”) He was simply to be God’s mouthpiece. Whereas God touched Isaiah’s lips with a burning coal and put words in Jeremiah’s mouth, he gave Ezekiel a scroll to eat. In Jeremiah’s case, he is expressing the immanence of God. God is using Jeremiah’s mouth. In Ezekiel’s case, he reflects more of God’s transcendence. It is important to notice that there was writing on both sides of the scroll which was not usual. Normally, the writing was only on the inside unless there was great finality or significance contained in the message. Such is the case here. The message to be delivered to Israel is of heavy judgment.
The first Adam disobeyed God by eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Here the ‘son of Adam’ obeys God’s command to eat the words of judgment. While the words tasted sweet going down as he filled his stomach. By eating the scroll, Ezekiel is to make the message to be delivered his own. It is to become part of his being. This is an important point for us to notice. Before Ezekiel takes his message to the rebellious people, he is to let God’s words sink deep into his own heart and absorb them into his own life. He must let God’s words make an impact on how he lives, otherwise, he will be another hypocritical prophet. In his word from the Lord he is told that the people won’t listen to him, but he is to persist anyway. God made Ezekiel as tough and relentless as the people who will reject him. In the latter part of his ministry as his prophecies began to come true the nation began to change. The heart of his message was of purity, holiness, and resurrection. He encouraged the exiles to remain faithful through their dark hours.
The parallels are so similar to our day. We live in a world hostile to God’s truth. Like Ezekiel, we are to absorb God’s word into our lives―eat and digest his word, his life and tell others whether they listen or not. We need to learn to live with rejection. It is the word that is significant, not the rejection. Look how often the saints in the Bible dealt with rejection. But. . .there were also moments of healing, repentance, and restoration. The same can be true today. Continue to live in Christ and speak the truth in love.
Music: “Ezekiel Saw the Wheel” St. Olaf Choir
Prayer:Almighty God, who forgivest all things to those who cry unto Thee, grant unto us that, whatsoever of life there may be remaining for us, we may give diligent heed at this very hour to Thy call; that, so coming unto Thee, we may find work in Thy vineyard, and do it faithfully unto the end; beseeching Thee to forgive the wasted hours of the past, and of thy graciousness to see that there be no more. For all time to come grant us to serve Thee diligently and dutifully, that at last we may hear Thy voice saying unto us, “Well done, good and faithful servants: enter ye into the joy of your Lord.” So be it unto us all, through Jesus Christ our Lord―Amen. ―George Dawson, from Prayers Ancient and Modern, p.213