by Jarrod M. Jacobs
When Ezekiel was called to be a prophet, God made certain things very clear to him. God made it clear that these people were a “rebellious house” (Ezekiel 2:3). God does not mince words regarding His people! He lets Ezekiel know the kind of people he will be facing. At the same time, God allows for their free will, saying once Ezekiel speaks, they might or might not listen (Ezekiel 2:5,7). They could obey or disobey, and God would leave that decision with them. Yet, whether they listened or not, they will “know a prophet has been among them” (Ezekiel 2:5; 33:33).
This phrase gets my attention for many reasons. First, how will they know? They will know because of Ezekiel’s words (Ezekiel 2:7; 3:1,4). Ezekiel would not express his thoughts or the thoughts of some group of men but would speak the words of God! Speaking God’s words is different because God’s words are authoritative, bold, and powerful.
However, this is not the only way they would know a prophet had been among them. Take, for example, II Kings 5. When Elisha heard about Naaman and how the king was upset that he had come there for cleansing when the king could not heal (II Kings 5:7), Elisha told the king, “Wherefore hast thou rent thy clothes? Let him come now to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel” (II Kings 5:8). Here we read the same words as we read in Ezekiel 2:5 and 33:33. How would Naaman know there was a prophet? It would not only be because of the words spoken (II Kings 5:10) but also because of the actions taken! Elisha intended to heal Naaman of leprosy by God’s power (II Kings 5:14). In like manner, Ezekiel would show the nation that there was a prophet among them as they observed his obedient actions! As we continue to read the book of Ezekiel, we will see several things he did before the people that God commanded him to do. He did those things without fear of any man (Ezekiel 2:6)!
The application we can draw (Romans 15:4) is this: when people see you and hear your words, do they know a Christian is among them? What kind of words am I using? Am I speaking as the oracles of God when I speak (I Peter 4:11)? What kind of deeds am I doing? Do my deeds match what Christ did (I Peter 2:21; Colossians 3:17)? If not, why not? Do I allow fear to keep me from doing the things I know I should? Let me listen to God’s warnings in this passage and make sure fear does not get in the way (Ezekiel 2:6).
Do people know there is a Christian in their family? What do your spouse and children see when they see you or hear your words (Matthew 5:13-16)? What do your coworkers observe? What about your neighbors and friends? If you live one way on Sunday and another way the rest of the week, rest assured this hypocritical lifestyle is known. Solomon said, “Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right” (Proverbs 20:11). If we can tell what a child is doing, we will know what the adult is doing!
Greater than folks knowing how rich we are, how smart we are, or how well-loved we are, etc., is that folks know we are Christians (Mark 16:16; Acts 11:26). What will folks remember about you when your time on earth is done? I pray folks know a Christian has been among them when I am gone.