January 24, 2016

Ezekiel 3:7 “But the house of Israel is not willing to listen to you because they are not willing to listen to me, for the whole house of Israel is hardened and obstinate.”

Jesus echoed this to His disciples, though from a slightly different angle: “A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the student to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebub, how much more the members of his household!” (Matthew 10:24-25) We tend to throw a pity party when people don’t receive what we have to say or to give them, but God says, that’s the way it is! However, just as Jesus didn’t fail to come to earth because He knew He would be rejected and crucified, so we must not fail to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom of God, because some will hear and receive, and they are worth it. The thing is, we don’t know who will listen and who won’t, so we can’t limit our proclamation to friendly audiences. John put it this way: “He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” (John 1:10-13) We aren’t to obsess over those who won’t receive Christ, but rejoice in those who do, who are born again as children of God by repentance and faith.

I’m not sure I had realized before how thoroughly I identify with Ezekiel! I have no question that I have been sent to the Japanese people, but they certainly qualify as obstinate (the Japanese expression used here is “steel-skinned”)! It breaks my heart that so few open up to receive what God has for them, but God makes it clear that I’m not to take it personally. At the same time, I’m not to be resigned or fatalistic, giving up before I start. I am called to be faithful, whatever the response. I cannot force anyone to be saved, but I can demonstrate how attractive salvation really is, not just as a prospect for the next life but in daily fellowship with God right now. It is a particular mystery to me that so few Christians, even, make/take the time to have devotional fellowship with God every morning, but I am not to stop pointing out how delightful and beneficial it is. I am not to let circumstances get me down, but rest, relax, and rejoice in God, letting Him use me to accomplish His purposes in His way on His schedule for His glory.

Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for the snow today. It looks entirely possible, even likely, that no one will be able to come this morning. Thank You that You are here! I ask for clear guidance as to what we are to do or not do, so that Your plans may be fulfilled exactly as You intend, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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