Speaking for God; February 26, 2018

Ezekiel 3:17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me.”

Here we have a reinforcement of Ezekiel’s commission from the Lord. God had already warned him that he couldn’t count on people listening to him, but here He drives the point home that the messenger isn’t responsible for how the message is received, but he is certainly responsible for whether or not he delivers the message. The Lord’s words to Ezekiel in this verse call to mind Paul’s words to the Corinthians. “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:20) God has been speaking to people through other people from the dawn of history, but that doesn’t make it any less of a miracle. Atheists strongly resist the idea that the Creator would speak to someone, much less through someone. Just recently more than one TV personality has gotten reaction for saying that claiming to hear from God is a sign of mental illness. If you don’t want to admit that we are created beings and thus accountable to our Creator, then it stands to reason you aren’t going to want to admit that Creator speaks to and through human individuals. The technical word for speaking for God is prophecy, but we tend to conflate that with prediction, when actually it is much broader than that. True prophecy is simply letting God use your mouth, whatever He wants to say. The prophet is in control of whether or not he speaks, but the content is from God. That content might be a word of warning, as Ezekiel is being told here, or it might be a word of comfort or encouragement or almost anything else. Paul certainly relayed what he heard from God, and his letters cover a broad gamut of topics. The point is, if God gives you a Word for someone you’d better deliver it, because you are accountable for it.

I am very aware that I have a rich treasure of God’s Word, not just in the printed matter in my hand but also stored up in my heart. Frankly, sharing that treasure is the joy of my life. I do wish it were received more consistently, but considering what the Lord told Ezekiel, I can’t complain! Sometimes what He says through me comes across as prophecy and sometimes not. I’ve never been one for “Thus sayeth the Lord!” I am convinced that God wants to speak through every one of His children, but for some that’s a bigger part of their job description than for others. I must not let this sort of thing become an area of personal pride, because if it’s real, it’s all God anyway. I am to rejoice at the privilege but give God all the glory. Billy Graham was a prime example here, speaking God’s Word to kings and presidents but remaining totally humble to the very end. I certainly don’t have his sphere of influence, but we serve the same God, and that’s what matters.

Father, thank You for the incredible privilege of knowing You, having fellowship with You, and speaking Your words after You. Keep me from pride, and keep me from despair when Your truth is not received. Help me be faithful, step by step and moment by moment, so that Your purposes may be accomplished in and through me for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

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