Be Strong, Be Well — Monday, July 5, 2021
When God commissioned Ezekiel to speak to the Israelites in captivity, He told the prophet upfront, they won’t listen to you. It won’t be because they don’t understand your speech. You both speak the same language.
God said, “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 hardhearted” (Ezekiel 3:7). Impudent means they were hardheaded. It sounds similar to hardhearted, but this word describes people who were calloused, stubborn, and obstinate. God’s people would not listen to reason, no matter what was said. They stood condemned because of this.
In the following verse, God then told Ezekiel, eight, “Behold, I have made your face strong against their faces, and your forehead strong against their foreheads.” What a job the prophet was about to take on—butting heads with the stubborn people of God. Of course, this was not literal. God would give Ezekiel the strength to withstand the arguments, and mocking these people would dish out.
God told Ezekiel, He not only would make him equal for the task, but He would also make him even harder than they. “Like adamant stone, harder than flint, I have made your forehead; do not be afraid of them, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they are a rebellious house” (Ezekiel 3:9). An adamant stone is a sharp diamond that can cut other rocks, even flint.
What an encouragement this must have been for Ezekiel as he set out to preach to these stubborn, rebellious people. They would be no match for him. And the reason God made him this way was to try everything possible to win them over. God didn’t need to prove anything. He didn’t need His prophet to go around winning arguments just for the sake of winning fights. He wanted His people to soften their hearts and repent.
If we ever become stubborn and hardheaded about something, we hope God’s word will soften our hearts and bring us back to a more reasonable and obedient mindset. “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10).
“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). What a wonderful, loving God. Be patient with us, Lord. Be patient. —Chris