Almost 600 years before Christ, God called a priest named Ezekiel to be His prophet, His watchman on the wall, over the Israelites that were carried into Babylonian Captivity. His calling did not come with the most encouraging words:
Ezekiel 2:3-7 And he said unto me, Son of man, I send thee to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that hath rebelled against me: they and their fathers have transgressed against me, even unto this very day. (4) For they are impudent children and stiffhearted. I do send thee unto them; and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD. (5) And they, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, (for they are a rebellious house,) yet shall know that there hath been a prophet among them. (6) And thou, son of man, be not afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns be with thee, and thou dost dwell among scorpions: be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house. (7) And thou shalt speak my words unto them, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear: for they are most rebellious.
Furthermore, Ezekiel was told:
Ezekiel 3:7 But the house of Israel will not hearken unto thee; for they will not hearken unto me: for all the house of Israel are impudent and hardhearted.
Then, we find this interesting verse:
Ezekiel 3:14-15 So the spirit lifted me up, and took me away, and I went in bitterness, in the heat of my spirit; but the hand of the LORD was strong upon me. (15) Then I came to them of the captivity at Telabib, that dwelt by the river of Chebar, and I sat where they sat, and remained there astonished among them seven days.
Ezekiel does not appear very enthusiastic about his calling into the ministry. In fact, he was bitter about it – even angry. It wasn’t his plan for his life, and not what he would have chosen for himself. He didn’t particularly want to be a prophet, especially not then and there, knowing that preaching the truth would fill his life with briers, thorns and scorpions, not to mention some “hard looks.”
This passage reminded me of others who did not exactly jump on God’s calling for their lives. Moses tried every excuse he could think of, even basically saying, “Here am I – send Aaron!” Jonah disliked his assignment so much that he ran away. Jeremiah tried to say that he was too young for what God had called him to do.
What did Ezekiel do? He sat among the men of Telabib and didn’t say anything for seven days, until God told him – “You are the watchman on the wall. If you don’t tell them what I say, they’re going to die – but I will hold you accountable. Sit here if you want to. But their blood will be on your hands” (Ezekiel 3:17-21).
I believe that it is important to understand that God doesn’t just call those who WANT to preach, go to the mission field, or serve in some capacity. Sometimes He calls us to do things that maybe we would NOT choose for ourselves. Sometimes, He calls people who have to die to their plans, wants, wishes and dreams to fulfill His will for their lives. Sometimes, He calls us to do the last thing we would choose.
- Maybe you’ve been called to a mission field and you’d rather be somewhere else.
- Maybe you’ve been called to a church but the situation is difficult.
- Maybe you’re trying to start a church and things are even harder than expected.
- Maybe you’d really rather not be a preacher’s kid or a missionary kid, and maybe you’d rather not go on another deputation.
- Maybe being the preacher’s wife comes with more problems than you expected.
- Maybe you’ve been at one church for a long time and you’re feeling restless.
- Maybe you’d rather not serve in the nursery anymore.
- Maybe you’re tired of teaching a difficult class in Sunday School.
- Maybe you’re not looking forward to another hot summer on a church bus.
- Maybe you’d rather be in a church that is bigger/smaller/younger/older and which has a bigger/smaller/cooler/less cool youth department.
Maybe you’d rather just be an exiled priest and make the best of it in Babylon, and not have to deal with the problems of being a prophet.
Hold on – you’ve been bought with a price, and you’re not your own. We’ve been called to be good soldiers, and good soldiers go to their assignments and do their jobs. Of course, we know that God does sometimes lead us away from certain things or to new places or works. Just make sure it is God that is leading.
If it’s God’s will, then embrace it – even it if is uncomfortable and difficult and not exactly what you’d always dreamed of doing.
Be sure of this – God will hold you accountable for what you are supposed to do. Blood will be on your hands.
But also know this – the best place for any child of God is in the will of God.
Thank you for reading. God bless.