By Kevin Shrum
Pastor, Inglewood Baptist Church, Nashville
Focal Passage: Ezekiel 3:8-21
When God gets ready to do something He commissions His people. Like a military General commanding his troops, God calls and commissions His people to do His will His way, executing the battle plan according to His purposes.
The Great Commission of Matthew 28:16-20 is just one of many commissions in Scripture. The Prophets of the Old Testament were commissioned to speak on God’s behalf to His people and to the culture at large. They spoke God’s Word, not their own. And just as God commissioned His prophets, He calls us to preach, teach, and live His Word today. We see in the commissioning of Ezekiel a reflection of our own calling.
Prepared, verses 8-11
When God calls His people, He prepares His people. How? First, through a determined heart. God told Ezekiel He would make His face as hard as their faces and your forehead as hard as their foreheads, verse 8.
Further, his mind would be like a diamond, harder than flint, verse 9. Further, Ezekiel was not to be discouraged even though he would be preaching to the rebellious house of Judah, verse 9.
Ezekiel was to speak God’s Word and to do so whether they listen or refuse to listen, verse 11. In other words, Ezekiel was to be prepared to preach God’s Word no matter the outcome; to be as determined in his preaching as those who did not want to hear the Word.
It is an awesome thing to see the immediate results of one’s ministry. But many times, we do not see immediate results. When God commissions us to do His will, He prepares us for faithfulness, endurance, and determination. We are to leave the results to God. Like the Apostle Paul who went to his own “desert seminary” to prepare for his God-given mission we, too, must be prepared and determined to do His will, Galatians 1:17-18.
Overwhelmed, Ezekiel 3:12-15
Such a commissioning can be overwhelming. But what was even more overwhelming to Ezekiel than the task itself was that God Himself was the One who had commissioned him. God’s calling humbled him. He was so overwhelmed he responded by saying, bless the glory of the Lord in His place, verse 12. Ezekiel said that the Spirit lifted me up and that the Lord’s hand was on me powerfully, verse 14. God’s presence left him stunned for seven days, verse 15.
Focusing on the task can overwhelm us, paralyzing us with fear. The only thing that can propel us through this paralysis is the overwhelming power of God. Just as God promised to be with Ezekiel, He will be with us in carrying out our commission, Matthew 28:20 and Acts 1:6-8. His presence overwhelms our task!
And what was Ezekiel’s assignment? He was to be a watchman over the house of Israel, verse 16, to preach to the wicked person, verse 18, and to speak God’s Word to the righteous person, verse 19.
He was to warn them, to preach judgement to them, and to speak words of repentance and restoration. Our calling is the same – to address sin, declare judgment, and offer restoration. He will be with us! — B&R Shrum has been pastor of Inglewood Baptist Church, Nashville, for the last 27 years and has served the TBMB and the SBC in various capacities, including a term as President of the Tennessee Baptist Convention.