Today I read Ezekiel Chapter 2. The word abandon jumped out at me when I was was trying to find out what God wanted to speak to me about today (What he would place on my heart). He did not miss what was on my heart for sure and weighing rather heavily. The description in the index to notes in my bible said “don’t give up on God when you feel abandoned.” So I turned to Ezekiel Chapter 2 to find out more. Here are the words that jumped out at me:
I was sitting and the first words were “Stand up, son of man. I want to speak with you.” Well, if that doesn’t grab your attention!!! I read carefully the words written, just as it said Ezekiel did as he stood listening. God said to Ezekiel “I am sending you to the nation of Israel, a nation that is rebelling against me. They are hard-hearted and stubborn people. But I am sending you to say to them “This is what the Sovereign Lord says!” And whether they listen or not – for remember they are rebels, but at least they will know they have had a prophet among them.” Well, I was wondering what relevancy this had to me, so I kept reading.
The next words spoke softly but directly to my heart. “Son of man, do not fear them. Don’t be afraid even though their threats are sharp as thorns and barbed like briers, and they sting like scorpions. Do not be dismayed by their dark scowl. For remember, they are rebels!. You must give them my messages whether they listen or not….Do not join them in being a rebel. Open your mouth, and eat what I give you.” That was definitely meat to chew on.
What did God say?
(1) do not fear them
(2)Don’t be afraid even though their threats are sharp as thorns and barbed like briers, and they sting like scorpions.
(3)Do not be dismayed by their dark scowl.
(4)Remember they are rebels!
(5)You must give them my messages whether they listen or not.
(6)Do not join them in being a rebel.
(7)Open your mouth, and eat what I give you.
This spoke very loudly to me. How does this fit with the word abandon you might wonder? Okay, lets go back to grade school, maybe even to high school days. Do you know what the word ‘click’ means? In my part of the world that meant groups who ‘hung’ together and let not just anyone ‘in’. In fact, if you were ‘outside’, you were truly outside in their view. Were you part of a click? Were you an outsider? Wherever you were in that situation, have you ever felt on the outside of something you wanted to be included in? Have you ever felt ‘left out’ in the rain? There’s that word “abandon”….and rejection!
Okay, so God gives Ezekiel the words that he must not be afraid of threats – those words hurled at you that can catch you unaware. He told Ezekiel to not even be dismayed by their scowls. Oh man, have you ever received a scowl? It’s not a good feeling is it, especially when it is from a parent? What if it is from a virtual stranger? “Shake it off” comes to mind. (literally comes to mind – only gently and with kindness is this intended).
I’m learning to not focus on what the scowl may be about or what they might be thinking. I have learned that it (the scowl or occasional growl) is more about the other person than it is about me. I’ve decided, a smile warms the iciest of hearts. I’m learning to offer that smile anyway. Okay, I knew already how powerful a smile can be. I almost lost it though after years of daily ‘marital’ scowls. My smile is back on now!
So – God told Ezekiel to remember it was not about whether they listened or not. It was about their condition. They were rebels. Did you ever want to be one of those kids in school that broke out of the mold everyone wanted to put you in? Have you ever gone ‘against the grain’ in life, like at your job, just because you felt you had to be true to ‘you’? You didn’t want to conform? Did you ever think they were just boring, so you wanted to ‘shake em up’? Well, what does God tell Ezekiel? He tells him not to become involved as a rebel to just be a part of the ‘cool kids’ group? So what if they had influence? So what if they talked louder and there were more of them than just his ‘one’ self?
God uses ‘Ones’ to lead the ‘cool kids’ groups of this and the biblical world doesn’t he? He uses the the outcasts? Look at Noah. He was told to build a big boat for he and the animals and that the water was going to cover the entire earth. Noah did this day-in and day-out for many years and wonder what kind of scowls he must have received? What about those jabs of words by passersby? What did he do? He kept building.
What about little ole David? He was told to do what????? He was told to go up against a ‘giant’? Oh my, that’s worse than lions, tigers and bears. Right? Yikes. What did David do? Just one young guy named David? He picked up the rock, put it in his slingshot and fired away – and down went that big ole giant! He has used many ‘Ones’! In God’s story. He even used Esther! He told her to go before the king …just little Esther! What did she do? She boldly went before the king – despite his scowls and biting reprimands and threats!
God doesn’t expect us to understand everything he has planned for us to do. If he plants the idea (speaks to us) and if it is not for harm (you would know that was not from God!), then we are to take notice of it. We are to stand! We are to move! We are to be willing servants.
God doesn’t want us to be concerned with whether we are received by others sometimes or not. There are times he will make sure they hear us, but there will be times when we will not be heard. No matter! As one of my favorite songs is entitled – do it ‘ANYWAY’.
The comforting word to me was this: When God asks you to do something and you don’t think you are ‘skilled’ enough or capable to carry it out – God always gives us the strength to accomplish what he asks us to do!
He gave Noah the equipment and wisdom and discernment. He gave David the courage and the skill. He gave Esther the desire to push forward and so why do we think that even if the world scowls at us and shuts us out and down …and simply abandons us and rejects us that we should not still do what HE wants us to do?
Sometimes we will be asked to do something and present something to ungrateful or abusive people. (12 years of it came to mind.) I remember giving that message that Jesus loves and it felt like the words were falling on deaf ears and falling into stones where the roots would not grow. I tried until I asked God to release me and you know what …HE DID!
GOD asks us to be obedient but more than that ..to be willing! He is with us. His spirit is inside of us. We can put down the fear of rejection or ridicule long enough to follow through for God. We can withstand criticism. It’s not about being one of the cool kids. It’s about being a ‘child’ of God! No matter what or who you think has abandoned or rejected you. No matter if you are only ONE! In the sea of the cool kids – if God has planted it on your heart to do…DO IT ANYWAY!
You can spend your whole life buildin’
Somethin’ from nothin’
One storm can come and blow it all away
Build it anyway
You can chase a dream
That seems so out of reach
And you know it might not ever come your way
Dream it anyway
God is great, but sometimes life ain’t good
When I pray it doesn’t always turn out like I think it should
But I do it anyway
I do it anyway
This world’s gone crazy and it’s hard to believe
That tomorrow will be better than today
Believe it anyway
You can love someone with all your heart
For all the right reasons
And in a moment they can choose to walk away
love ’em anyway
You can pour your soul out singing
A song you believe in
That tomorrow they’ll forget you ever sang
Sing it anyway
Yeah, sing it anyway
I sing, I dream, I love