Appendix 1: Thoughts on Ezekiel 2:8; 3:1-3, 14
Under the picture of the Word as our necessary food, these verses demonstrate the importance of God’s Word for motivation, courage and strength, and capacity for ministry. Living in and feeding on the Word, because it tunes our ear into God’s voice, produces the burden, the willingness, and the courage necessary for ministry regardless of our fears or the obstacles we face. Scripture brings us in touch with God Himself and with His heart.
In Ezekiel 2:8 and 3:1 “eat” is a fitting picture of feeding on God’s Word and filling our souls with His truth. This naturally leads to the ability to hear and follow the command.
After being told to eat, the prophet is told “go,” an apt picture of going or ministering according to the gifts and special leading of the Lord in any believer’s life. But if we aren’t feeding, we will not be listening, nor will we be in a position spiritually to follow the Lord.
Then the prophet is told, to “go to the house of Israel and speak my words to them.” This was God’s specific ministry and call for the prophet. It was God’s will for Ezekiel, but what about us both corporately and individually as believers today?
The impact of chapters 2 and 3 in Ezekiel may be lost on us because of an idea that is common in the church today, but one that is erroneous and that throws a wet blanket on the outreach of the church. Many would say this passage applies only to evangelists or pastors. The idea is that only such men have the call of God on their lives; these are the ministers of the Word. As a result, a large portion of the body of Christ excuse themselves from the ministry of evangelism or outreach.
In the church age every believer is a priest of God and called of God into full-time service of one sort or another according to their gifts. Furthermore, every believer is to do the work of evangelism, show mercy to others, help, give, and in general, do good works (Tit. 3:8, 14; 2 Tim. 4:5; 1 Peter 2:1-10; 4:10-11).
A Proper Response by Ezekiel (3:2)
“So” points us to Ezekiel’s response. In light of who is speaking and what the Scroll consists of (God’s Holy Word), the following is essential and logical—“I opened my mouth.” Revelation demands an adequate response. Opening the mouth portrays a teachable, hungry, and studious spirit.
“And He fed me …” Only God can ultimately feed us and make us understand the Word through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. But if we don’t open our mouths, if we aren’t hungry, and if we don’t make ourselves available, He can’t feed and strengthen us in the Word.
A Full Meal Deal (vs. 3)
God was telling Ezekiel to thoroughly digest and understand the message. To be a student of the Word. He was also telling him this message must saturate his life; he must become full of the message. But why?
- We must know the message if we are going to be able to communicate it accurately. Recent statistics show the majority of Christians are biblically illiterate.
- We must be absorbed with the Word if we are going to be willing and courageous to carry it to others and if we are going to be able to change our values, priorities, and thus, pursuits—if God’s burden is going to become ours. To be full of the Word is to be controlled by the Word, to have the mind of Christ.
Read carefully and reflectively on Ezekiel 3:3-15.
When we aren’t living in the Word and allowing it to saturate our hearts and minds, we will either fail to minister, or we will minister for the wrong reasons—and always without a sense of God’s purpose and without the joy of the Lord. Further, when we run into obstacles, and we always do, our tendency will be to run or throw in the towel. Ezekiel was given a very difficult task, but God’s Word in his heart fortified him and gave him the hardness to stand against the difficulties he faced (3:8-10).
In verse 14, we see the change that took place in the heart of Ezekiel brought about by the Word and the ministry of the Spirit of God. As he became associated with God’s message and God’s glory, he began to feel God’s righteous anger over Israel’s sin and stubborn rebellion.
Related Topics: Basics for Christians