Properly Dealing With rejection
Sometimes, as Kingdom citizens, or I should say, Christians, we need friendly reminders of what our worth is. Not as to men. Because that can change from minute to minute, depending on how an individual, a group, or family feels about you in a given moment. So, we need friendly reminders of what our worth is from God’s perspective.
And that’s what I gained during my morning personal Bible study after studying Ezekiel chapter 2. I felt completely refreshed. In fact, throughout my day, I could not get this chapter and the notes I had taken off my mind. So much so that I caught myself saying as I was meditating, “Okay, now I understand.” “That one really helped.” Or, that gave me clarity I really needed.”
So, as I am winding my evening down, I just don’t think I will be able to get any sleep if I did not share some of my study notes with you guys. I hope you will find it encouraging, uplifting, and refreshing as I have found it to be for me.
Reviewing Ezekiel chapter 2
One of the very first things God reminds me of, as I read the first few verses in Ezekiel chapter 2, is that God calls each one of us to the ministry for a specific purpose. Often time, we as the Church get caught up in the appointment and approval by men who place people in specific roles. Rather that be pastor, apostle, prophet, evangelist, or Bible teacher. We all have a specific assignment in the body of Christ. But I believe it all too often gets distorted and clouded by the appointment of men who far too often places men and women into roles that God never intended for them.
So, in chapter 2, in the first three verses, God reminded me that it is He and only He that calls a man or a woman to a specific role in His Body. (Compare to 1 Corinthians 12:11, 14, 18, 24-25, 28). And that it is He that will provide His Spirit to guide and help these ones to learn and operate in that role efficiently and effectively. (Compare to John 16:13). God said to Ezekiel, “… Son of man, I am sending you to the sons of Israel….” And as God was speaking to Ezekiel, the Spirit of the LORD entered Ezekiel (Ezekiel 2:1-3).
Now, does God randomly gives us an assignment and let us figure it out on our own – allowing us to insert our opinions, belief systems, and preferences as we go about doing ministry? Well, let us look at what He says to Ezekiel concerning this call God placed on Ezekiel’s life.
Yes, Ezekiel had a very difficult assignment from God. But despite this difficulty of His assignment, Ezekiel had a higher calling and responsibility or obligation. This is clearly stated at verse 7. It says, “… you shall speak My word to them whether they listen or not….”
Right there is when it finally hit me. I get it, LORD! I get it. Here’s is what the LORD wanted, no needed me to walk away with from my Bible reading this morning.
Being Okay with rejectioN
At this point, in the nation of Israel's history, God’s people had become just another heathen nation. They looked no different from the surrounding nations. If we the people, meaning the Church. If we honestly evaluated the sociodemographic structure of the church today, and we closely examine its heart condition and status, its mindset, and its loyalty and preferences, would we find a church that looks very similar to God’s people that Ezekiel preached to?
Assuming that is the case, then God’s ministers today find themselves in the same state as did Ezekiel during his day. True ministers of God today are preaching to a stubborn, obstinate, and rebellious people. Despite this fact, we still have the responsibility to preach “thus says the LORD God.” This was extremely important in Ezekiel’s ministry because he did not have the room or luxury to insert his own viewpoint. The nation, God’s people, did not have that kind of time on their hands. The people had reached a point of no return. And prophets like Ezekiel were the people’s last hope, last chance to repent and to get right with God before time had run out for them.
For the purpose of Ezekiel’s ministry was not to speak the word of the LORD, and then wait around for the people to do that right, and then give them the next word the LORD had for them. No. The purpose God sent Ezekiel into ministry is so that (1) the people will know that a prophet (a true prophet of God) has been among them (v.5). And, (2) so that, the word of the LORD is clearly spoken to God’s people (v.7). Therefore, when all is said and done, God’s people will have no excuse for their specific outcome – whether they heed God’s warnings through His true prophets or not (Compare to Romans 1:20; Amos 3:7).
This is why God kept emphasizing to Ezekiel that he could not consume himself with how the people received his message. Whether the people received his word or not was not of Ezekiel's concern nor responsibility. Ezekiel was only responsible for speaking exactly what the LORD had given him to speak. Nothing more and nothing less.
Ministry can be very challenging when you are being honorable and obedient to what the LORD has given you to speak. That is what the LORD will hold us accountable for. (Compare to Ezekiel 33:7-9). But the LORD does not hold ministers of the LORD accountable for the reactions of the people to that message. Those who hear the word have a responsibility to the word, the message, they have heard. For we all have to work out our own salvation. (Compare to James 1:22; Matthew 13:3-9; 18-23; 1 Corinthian 5:17).
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God's word is for the edification, exhortation, and consolation; for teaching, reproving, correcting, and training so that every Christian is equipped for the work of service, to build up the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 14:3; 2 Timothy 3:16; Ephesians 4:12).