In this chapter the Lord gave Ezekiel a prophecy about Judah and her prince going into exile. But He began the word with this declaration in verse 2,
“Son of man, you dwell in the midst of a rebellious house, who have eyes to see, but see not, who have ears to hear, but hear not, for they are a rebellious house.”
The Lord knew that the people would choose not to listen or believe but He showed them anyway. He showed them because He wanted them to listen. He wanted them to take it seriously and heed His word. He wanted them to be saved. Ezekiel did everything God told him to do and the next the day, the Lord said, “Son of man, has not the house of Israel, the rebellious house, said to you, ‘What are you doing?’ Say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God…” (Verses 9-10a). God then proceeded to explain the prophecy to Ezekiel so that he could explain it to whomever asked. Verses 14-16 read,
“And I will scatter toward every wind all who are around him, his helpers and all his troops, and I will unsheathe the sword after them. 15 And they shall know that I am the Lord, when I disperse them among the nations and scatter them among the countries. 16 But I will let a few of them escape from the sword, from famine and pestilence, that they may declare all their abominations among the nations where they go, and may know that I am the Lord.”
The few who listened, who took the Lord seriously and acknowledged their sin would be saved. But the majority of the people who supported the prince instead of seeking God would be exiled or die from war, disease, or hunger.
True prophets were not popular among the people. They didn’t give positive flowery messages. They pointed out the evil and told people to repent. They warned people of the impending trouble that awaited them because of their sin. They were not only unpopular but they were laughed at or ignored. Verses 21-23 read,
“And the word of the Lord came to me: 22 “Son of man, what is this proverb that you have about the land of Israel, saying, ‘The days grow long, and every vision comes to nothing’? 23 Tell them therefore, ‘Thus says the Lord God: I will put an end to this proverb, and they shall no more use it as a proverb in Israel.’ But say to them, The days are near, and the fulfillment of every vision.”
The attitude of Israel that the prophecies fulfillment were so far off as to not be a concern reminds me of the attitude of many people today. I’ve heard people say that the Bible needs a dictionary to define the word ‘soon’ since it’s been two thousand years and the events that it claims will happen soon still haven’t happened. They ignore all prophecies that have come to fruition. They laugh at the idea of the Day of Judgment, of a God who requires payment for sin, and the existence of sin at all.
Yet God still loves them. He still wants them to be saved. He still calls us to go to them, make disciples, and teach them to obey. He still wants them to know Him. One day every person will know He is LORD, whether it is because they finally heard the message and believed or they face Him on their knees in terror on that Day. The Day will come and it is coming soon. God will do what He has said He would do. Verses 24-25 say,
“For there shall be no more any false vision or flattering divination within the house of Israel. 25 For I am the Lord; I will speak the word that I will speak, and it will be performed. It will no longer be delayed, but in your days, O rebellious house, I will speak the word and perform it, declares the Lord God.”
It isn’t up to us to decide if people will listen. It is up to us to obey the Lord and speak the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to them and let them have the opportunity to accept or refuse Him. It is up to us to reject sin, idolatry, and false religion, not call it harmless and propagate it ourselves.
People can’t know how awful these sugar-coated ideas are if we are accepting them and even passing them along as well. They are made sweet so people will receive them, but they are lies. They flatter so that people will believe them but they are abominations. People need the truth. The truth comes from God and it is covered in Jesus’ blood, it points out our weakness, our sin, and our desperate need of Him. It doesn’t cajole with positive ‘hang in there’ messages. It exhorts with “recognize your need, call on Jesus, and repent.” It says, “You can’t save yourself let go and fall into God’s capable hands. It is beautiful only after we accept it and realize the awesome exquisiteness and magnificence of God’s complete grace.
People’s reactions are not your problem, your actions are your concern. Tell them the truth and let them decide to be deaf and blind or hearing and seeing.