Summary: God equips and strengthens those He calls to service
Primary Purpose: God equips those who He calls to service.
Some miners and settler in British Columbia were stripping Fort Alcan
of lumber, electrical appliances and plumbing when they made a amazing
discovery. While dismantling the jail they found that the mighty locks were
attached to the heavy doors and 2 inch steel bars covered the windows, but
the walls of the prison were only wallboard made of clay and paper, painted
to look like iron. A good heave against the wall by a man would have burst
the wall down. Nobody ever tried because nobody thought it was possible.
Many christians are prisoners of fears that are nothing when pushed up
against. Satan can do nothing against a son of God, but he loves to put
barriers of paper mache in the path of a believer to make him think he is
When God calls us to do difficult tasks for him like He did with
Ezekiel-- He calls us to face it with courage. We cannot be afraid of what
God has already overcome. To Joshua, the Lord said, “Be strong and
courageous. Do not be terrifed; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God
will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
To Isaiah the Lord said, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be
dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will
uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
I think that’s why God appeared to Ezekiel in the first chapter the way
He did. Ezekiel needed to remember how big God is. He needed to
remember that the God who calls him could protect and provide for his needs.
Ezekiel is going into the exile camp with a unpopular message. I don’t know
if you’ve ever had to give someone bad news. The message is unpopular and
will hurt those you care about. There is nothing fun about giving bad news.
You can become unpopular in a hurry. People may cross the street to avoid
you. People will stop associating with you. It can feel very alone sometimes.
Ezekiel had a unpopular message of repentance and judgment and the people
could not have been less receptive to his words. But, we see in this passage
1. God equipped Ezekiel with courage v.6-7; 3:8-9. He gives him the
courage to face the people each day. He gives him the courage to say “Thus
saith the Lord.” The Lord used two verbs to describe the people of God in
this passage “rebelled” which means to refuse allegiance to, to rise up
against, a sovereign and “revolt” which means to violate covenant duties,
breach covenant relations”. The people of God were in open rebellion
against God, but God still loved them enough to want to warn them, to speak
to them about their sins.
2. God encourages Ezekiel to be a man of integrity. We cannot speak with
authority against a sin if we are involved in it. 2:8 God calls his people to be
sanctified, to be holy, to be different. The witness we have among people in
our community is a sermon in itself. It gives us credibility or it robs us of it.
I heard a story about two preachers who lived in the days before
automobiles. The two of them met in a certaint own. The first asked the
second how he was doing. “Furious!” replied the second. “Someone has
stolen my bicycle and I think it’s one of my church members! I don’t know
what to do.”
The first preacher said: “Here’s what I’d do. I’d preach the Ten
Commandments this Sunday and when I got to “Thou shalt not steal” I’d
really hammer it home. The second preacher said, “I think I’ll take your
The next Monday, the first preacher ran into the second one and saw
that he ws riding the bicycle. He said, “I see my advice worked.” The second
replied, “Not really. When I go to “Thou shalt not commit adultery, I
remembered where I left my bicycle.”
People are watching to see if we are people of integrity or not.
3. God evaluates Ezekiel’s success not on numbers, but on obedience 2:5,7.
Recently I felt God leading me to go to a house where I did not know the
person. I wanted to invite the person to church. I went though I wasn’t sure
what kind of reception I would get. As I approached the house, a man asked
me what I wanted. I told him and that I had some information about our
church that I wanted to share with him. He gave me some excuse about a
task he had to do and went to the house next door. I decided to give him a