While reading through the Major Prophets, the persecution they suffered shouts from the page. Political leaders chastised, imprisoned and even eventually murdered some of those who spoke from God. They rejected the message and the messenger! These selfless Prophets risked all to speak and obey the commandments from God. Their messages were often condemning and certainly NOT what the people of their day wanted to hear.
They often spoke and warned of coming judgement and the desperate need for repentance from the people of God. When God was fed up with sin, it was his Prophets who spoke judgement; and nobody liked it.
At the beginning of the above chapters in Ezekiel’s story the lead-in to his Prophetic utterances caught my attention. MOREOVER, the word of the Lord came UNTO me…chapter 7. The Hand of the Lord God FELL there UPON me…chapter 8. He cried also in MY EARS with a LOUD voice…Chapter 9. Then I LOOKED and behold…chapter 10. So far, the Prophet has heard, felt and seen as his assignment unfolds. Then, in chapter 11 the Prophet is carried away…MOREOVER, the Spirit lift me up, and brought me.
Those, right there, are some marvelous spiritual experiences! Throughout these experiences, however, the Man of God weeps and sighs for the sin and ultimate destruction of his people. The life of a Prophet is not an easy life. They sacrifice all for the Word of God. Such a high and lofty calling! Each one is a Gift from God!
Ephesians 4:11-16 speaks of five Gifts from God: and like the five stones in David’s sling-bag, each ‘gift,’ well aimed, has the potential to slay the giants in our lives. It is important to read these verses, 11-16 five times, I think. One for each God-given Ministry. We cannot stop at verse 11 or 12 because God wants the whole counsel, in context, to be delivered to our hearts and minds.
As we read these verses five times, let us anchor IN OUR HEART a deep respect and reverence; with the full realization of the price these ‘gifts’ pay for their obedience. Thank you, Jesus, for the callings and elections you GIVE, for they are sure.