A Hard-Headed Prophet

by Jarrod M. Jacobs

Ezekiel 3:4-11 describes for us God’s intent for the prophet Ezekiel. He was sent to a specific group of people, the house of Israel (Ezekiel 3:4). He did not go to foreigners or those who had never heard, but to those who had heard again and again and refused to obey (Ezekiel 3:5-7). As a preacher and as a Christian, I find situations like those described in Ezekiel 3 to be almost more frustrating than dealing with people who have never heard the truth and refuse to listen.

As a Christian, I can imagine the pain Ezekiel will soon face because I have faced it before. I suppose when dealing with sin and error, no one lets us down more than our brethren! Why is this? Perhaps it is because our brethren are supposed to know better (Hebrews 5:12-14; 6:9). I remember Paul naming certain brethren who had walked away from the Lord like Demas (II Timothy 4:10), Hymenaeus, Alexander, Philetus (I Timothy 1:20; II Timothy 2:17-18), Peter, James, John, (Galatians 2:8-11) and others. I am sure it ripped his heart out to have to face those men and name them as causing trouble with the brethren, but he did it.

Think about Christ who went to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24). This statement would have been controversial in the extreme among the Pharisees, Sadducees, elders, scribes, lawyers, and those who “trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others” (Luke 18:9). Yet, for Jesus to preach the words God wanted preached (John 12:49-50), He had to do it and let the chips fall where they may. Of course, Jesus would pay the ultimate price for such preaching. Paul would suffer as well (II Corinthians 11:22-28). Ezekiel was going to feel a similar pain as he preached God’s word to people not willing to listen.

What was the answer? How would he survive such difficulties? God gave the answer in Ezekiel 3:8-11. Ezekiel needed a “hard head” and a determination to preach only what the Lord had said. This “hard head” is described as “adamant harder than flint” (Ezekiel 3:9). What does this mean? “Adamant” is akin to a diamond in its hardness. The word picture here is like a diamond being used to cut through the flint rock. Wow! What an image! Ezekiel’s forehead needed to be strong against their foreheads (Ezekiel 3:8), just as a diamond is necessary to cut through flint (Ezekiel 3:9)!

Please note that Ezekiel would not have an “adamant” heart but an “adamant” forehead! Ezekiel’s words and actions were not to be done out of spite, hatred, revenge, or other ungodly motives. What Ezekiel did (as well as Jeremiah, Isaiah, Jesus, Paul, Peter, and all of God’s spokesmen) was done out of love (Ephesians 4:15; I John 4:8,11,18)! When love for the souls of men is no longer the motive, it is a waste of time (I Corinthians 13:1-3). Yes, we can be firm and still love (Ask any parent if this is possible.). We can say God’s way is right and man’s way is wrong and still love others. Yet, make sure love is the motivator for it all. It was the motivation in the Bible.

Ezekiel 3:9 describes how Ezekiel’s preaching would be like a diamond cutting through flint. What was Ezekiel to say? Ezekiel 3:10-11 tells us! “All my words that I shall speak … speak unto them, and tell them, ‘Thus saith the Lord.’...” God’s word is the only thing with such power (Romans 1:16; Hebrews 4:12; I Peter 4:11). If Ezekiel had gone to the people and spoken his opinion or the collective thoughts of the intelligentsia, he would have wasted his time. However, for him to go to the people, like Jonah went to Nineveh (Jonah 3:12), he was putting his time and the people’s time to its best use.

I think it is time we had more hard-headed people in the Lord’s church. Do you agree? No, not hard-hearted (may this never be), but hard-headed! Let us be a people of boldness (Proverbs 28:1; I Thessalonians 2:2; I John 4:17). In our prayers, may we include the statement, “Grant unto thy servants that with all boldness (we) may speak thy word” (Acts 4:29).

Let us be a people who obey and speak the word of the Lord without apology. Let us be a people who will show others what it is like to serve God and be ready to take our “lumps” for it (II Timothy 3:12). Let us continue in the example of Ezekiel, especially when it means I love my brother enough to show him where he is wrong (James 5:19-20; Galatians 6:1). Let me not shrink from this duty, nor be dismayed by the looks I might get (Jeremiah 1:17; Ezekiel 3:9; Joshua 1:9; I Chronicles 28:20; II Timothy 4:2) but speak the “words of truth and soberness” to all who need it (Acts 26:25).

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