Summary: An examination of the people that Ezekiel had to preach to, and God's reaction.
And He said to me: “Son of man, I am sending you to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against Me; they and their fathers have transgressed against Me to this very day.
Israel was no longer a holy people. They were rebellious and had turned away from the Law of God. Within the book of Ezekiel, the word ‘rebellious’ is used about 20 times speaking of the Jews and their leaders! In chapter 5, the Lord says they were actually worse that the nations surrounding them. They built alters to idols and even sacrificed their children to these so-called gods. They thought the Lord did not see these wicked things they were doing, but to their dismay He saw every single thing. Unfortunately to this nation, their rebellion would lead to certain destruction.
People in this world today are not too much different from Israel in Ezekiel’s time. Just as Paul says to Timothy, the people in this world are “lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good,
4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God (2 Timothy 3:2-4).”
The world is open rebellion to God. Why don’t we tend to look at sin in this way? This is exactly what it is. They are shaking their fists at God thinking that there will not be punishment for their deeds. They are without God and without hope in this world (Ephesians 2:12). These people desperately need to see that Jesus is Lord before it is too late for them. The Lord is longsuffering with them for now, but there may come a time that the rebellious of this world will meet God in all His glory and bow the knee to Him and experience the full fury of His wrath.
Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we MUST persuade these rebellious people to turn to God and be reconciled to Him before it is too late (2 Cor. 5:11).
MOST WILL NOT LISTEN
Ezekiel was told ahead of time that he would not have many open hearts to God’s word.
For you are not sent to a people of foreign speech and a hard language, but to the house of Israel—not to many people of unfamiliar speech and of hard language, whose words you cannot understand. Surely, had I sent you to them, they would have listened to you. 7 But the house of Israel will not listen to you, because they will not listen to Me; for all the house of Israel are impudent and hard-hearted.
God, knowing the hearts of the people, said to Ezekiel that they would not be willing to listen. You may think that this would be discouraging for Ezekiel to hear, but it didn’t stop him from doing what the Lord commanded him to do.
We have also been told ahead of time that the majority will not listen.
“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
Few will be willing to humble and deny themselves to serve God. thy love the pleasures of this life too much to be right with the Lord.
But just because there will be few that will be saved doesn’t mean that we should put in half the effort! Ezekiel was still told to go and preach to the people to give them the opportunity to hear God’s word and to repent. He put in much effort, even to the point where obeying God put him into uncomfortable situations (which I will deal with in a later article). We need to be willing to do the same. Even though only few will obey the Lord, we still need to try to reach as many as we can. Everyone needs an opportunity to make a choice to accept or reject the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
GOD IS AFFECTED BY SIN
We see God react in two ways to the sins of Israel. First, He was hurt by Israel’s sin
Then those of you who escape will remember Me among the nations where they are carried captive, because I was crushed by their adulterous heart which has departed from Me, and by their eyes which play the harlot after their idols; they will loathe themselves for the evils which they committed in all their abominations.
Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?‘