Today’s thought (September 07): Hardened foreheads

Today we look at the Words of God to Ezekiel “Son of man” who had to go and speak to the family of Israel.

“Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth [month], in the fifth [day] of the month, as I was among the captives by the river Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God.” (Eze 1:1 ASV)

“And he said unto me, Son of man, eat that which thou findest; eat this roll, and go, speak unto the house of Israel.” (Eze 3:1 ASV)

Jehovah God did not send him to a people who speak a hard-to-learn language with words he could hardly pronounce. If God had sent him to such people, their ears would have perked up and they would have listened immediately.

“4 And he said unto me, Son of man, go, get thee unto the house of Israel, and speak with my words unto them. 5 For thou art not sent to a people of a strange speech and of a hard language, but to the house of Israel; 6 not to many peoples of a strange speech and of a hard language, whose words thou canst not understand. Surely, if I sent thee to them, they would hearken unto thee.” (Eze 3:4-6 ASV)

According to God it would not work that way with the family of Israel. Jehovah knew they would not listen to Ezekiel because they wouldn’t listen to God. They were a hard case, hardened in their sin. Today we also find many hardened people, not willing to listen to the Almighty God.

“But the house of Israel will not hearken unto thee; for they will not hearken unto me: for all the house of Israel are of hard forehead and of a stiff heart.” (Eze 3:7 ASV)

In case we love God we should trust Him and count on it that He will also harden us to be able to confront those unbelievers. God made Ezekiel his face as hard as rock, harder than granite so that he would not be intimidated. Even though they were a bunch of rebels, Ezekiel had not to be afraid of them,

“8 Behold, I have made thy face hard against their faces, and thy forehead hard against their foreheads. 9 As an adamant harder than flint have I made thy forehead: fear them not, neither be dismayed at their looks, though they are a rebellious house.” (Eze 3:8-9 ASV)

Like God said to that son of man, to get all these words that He was giving him inside him, we too have to listen to them obediently and have to make them our own.

“Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, all my words that I shall speak unto thee receive in thy heart, and hear with thine ears.” (Eze 3:10 ASV)

We should open our hearts to the Words of God and let them build us up. Having taken those Words of God into our hearts, we shall have to go to the exiles, to the people who have left God, and to those who still have to get to know HIm.

Like Ezekiel had to go to God’s and his people, and speak we too should go to our people and speak. We have to tell them about the Message of Jehovah God, the Master of the universe. We too have to speak our piece, whether they listen or not.

“And go, get thee to them of the captivity, unto the children of thy people, and speak unto them, and tell them, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah; whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear.” (Eze 3:11 ASV)

For Ezekiel it was also not so easy. He went bitterly and angrily. He didn’t want to go. But God had him in his grip.

“So the Spirit lifted me up, and took me away; and I went in bitterness, in the heat of my spirit; and the hand of Jehovah was strong upon me.” (Eze 3:14 ASV)

Jehovah had made this son of man into a watchman for the family of Israel. Whenever he heard God say something to him he had to warn them for Him.

“Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me.” (Eze 3:17 ASV)

Like Ezekiel had to warn his people that they were going to die. Ezekiel had to sound the alarm, in the same way as Noah in previous times also had to warn his people that it’s a matter of life or death.

Nothing is changed yet. There are still lots of people who do not want to hear. People who have their ears closed for the warnings of believers. Like God warned Ezekiel that if they would die, God would be holding him responsible when he would not have warned them. We are in the same situation.

“When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thy hand.” (Eze 3:18 ASV)

But if we warn the wicked and they keep right on sinning anyway, they’ll most certainly die for their sin, but we won’t die in the same manner because we’ll have saved our life like Ezekiel did.

“Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.” (Eze 3:19 ASV)

We all should be fully aware that if the righteous turn back from living righteously and take up with evil when God steps in and put them in a hard place, they’ll die.

“Again, when a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteous deeds which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thy hand.” (Eze 3:20 ASV)

We should be fully aware that the world can get us on the wrong path. We should make ourselves strong enough to withstand the tricks of the world. We should show the world how the Word of God can make us strong and safeguard us.

If we go out in the world and warn these righteous people not to sin and they listen to us, they’ll live because they took the warning — and again, we’ll have saved our own life as well.

“Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he took warning; and thou hast delivered thy soul.” (Eze 3:21 ASV)

Ezekiel was to prophesy to his own people. He was not going to people from a different culture, nation or language. Even though Ezekiel lived in enemy territory, Jehovah asked him to speak to his own people, the Jewish exiles living in Babylon,

The same as Ezekiel went out, we too should go out and tall about the Message of God. From then on it’s up to them. The prospect of having a conversation about faith with neighbours, co-workers, family or friends can feel very intimidating. They can listen or not listen, whichever they like. They also can make fun of us. It all will be their choice.

“But when I speak with thee, I will open thy mouth, and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: He that heareth, let him hear; and he that forbeareth, let him forbear: for they are a rebellious house.” (Eze 3:27 ASV)

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Preceding

Today’s thought “We do not know” (January 19)

Today’s thought “Thus says the LORD …” (February 4)

Today’s thought “Gather into one the children of God” (April 18)

Today’s thought “They do not understand” (December 6)

Additional verses to memorise Proverbs 2:1-5: “Ifs” and Knowledge of God

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Additional reading

  1. Christians remaining hidden not sharing the gospel
  2. Time to sit still or to pass on

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Related

  1. No Perfect Prayer
  2. Stand firm & pray
  3. Preparing for the hard rains
  4. Ready for Every Good Work
  5. Shining with intention
  6. If a Righteous Man Commits Iniquity, Warn Him
  7. God will strengthen you for the task he gives you – Ezekiel 2:1-3:15, Part 3
  8. Find out if you’re a prophet (and what to do if you’re not)- Ezekiel 2:1-3:15, Part 5
  9. Ezekiel 3
  10. Why I think you need an accountability partner – Ezekiel 3:16-27, Preview
  11. “I got your back,” Watchmen, and distraction – Ezekiel 3:16-27, Part 1
  12. A watchman must first hear from God – Ezekiel 3:16-27, Part 2
  13. A watchman must speak God’s words – Ezekiel 3:16-27, Part 3
  14. God’s Spirit is alive and well – Ezekiel 3:16-27, Part 4
  15. A powerful lesson about success from the SNL Prophet – Ezekiel 3:16-27, Part 5

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