Speak: whether they hear or refuse to hear


    The descendants also are impudent and stubborn: I send you to them, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD.’ And whether they hear or refuse to hear (for they are a rebellious house) they will know that a prophet has been among them. And you, son of man, be not afraid of them, nor be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns are with you and you sit on scorpions. Be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, for they are a rebellious house. And you shall speak my words to them, whether they hear or refuse to hear, for they are a rebellious house. —Ezekiel 2:4-7 ESV

How would you react if you applied to be a missionary and the missions agency told you:

You are going  to a very tough, hard place.  This people group is rebellious and difficult.  In fact, they have been double-crossing God all along.  They are stubborn and offensively bold and shameless in their sin.  But you are being sent to speak God’s words.  Whether they pay attention or not.  Whether they listen or not, they will know that there is something different about you.  Don’t be afraid, of their words or their nasty stares.  Keep speaking God’s truth, even if it appears they don’t care or are hostile toward you.

We find just such advice given to Ezekiel. In Ezekiel 2, we find God’s words to Ezekiel when he called him to go and speak to Israel.  I was struck by the bluntness of the call and its relevance for today’s world.  We are called to speak God’s truth, to share the Good News, whether people accept that Word or not.  We may be jeered and ridiculed.  But that is nothing new.  Ezekiel faced the same kind of rebellion and God clearly told him to not be afraid but to keep speaking.

Would you be willing to go, considering the cost? John Piper wrote:

there are only three kinds of people: goers, senders, and the disobedient. It’s not God’s will for everyone to be a “goer.” Only some are called to go out for the sake of the name to a foreign culture (e.g., Mark 5:18–19).

Those who are not called to go out for the sake of the name are called to stay for the sake of the name, to be salt and light right where God has placed them, and to join others in sending those who are called to be cross-cultural missionaries.

In God’s eyes both the goers and the senders are crucial. There are no first and second class Christians in God’s hierarchy of values. Together the goers and the senders are “fellow-workers with the truth” (3 John 8).

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