That awkward moment when your asked to put on an event for 55 year olds and then on the day of the event you find 50 five year old kids break through the door wondering where the cotton candy and jump houses are...It's in those moments you find yourself saying, "This is not what I signed up for!" I feel like today, we found some moments in Ezekiel's life where he could've wanted to use that very same line. Not only was Babylon's attack on Jerusalem beginning (which lasted nearly two years), but also the Lord tells Ezekiel that his wife, the delight of his eyes, was going to die and he wasn't allowed to mourn for her. Ezekiel 24:16-18 "Son of man, with one blow I am about to take away from you the delight of your eyes. Yet do not lament or weep or shed any tears. Groan quietly; do not mourn for the dead. Keep your turban fastened and your sandals on your feet; do not cover your mustache and beard or eat the customary food of mourners.” So I spoke to the people in the morning, and in the evening my wife died. The next morning I did as I had been commanded.
Ezekiel's faithfulness to the Lord is insane (I couldn't think of any other word to describe how I felt when I read it). A faithfulness and devotion that is so powerful, selfless and profound that he is literally willing to do anything, at any cost for the Lord. This is something we hear declared at the alter but rarely see in adversity. It’s not something that can or should be taught by someone yelling at us. It’s created and shaped by intimacy with the Spirit of God. It’s where everything we truly need flows from, where faith is strengthened and where His love for us awakens an unshakable love for Him and others. No machine, program or institution can produce faithfulness, steadfastness or devotion without Him. It may try, but it often produces bitterness, weariness and a calloused heart. If we obtain faithfulness without love, it’s temporary and useless.
Questions that are probably on someone’s mind may be: “How did Ezekiel do it? What kept him going? Why is his faith so strong while mine is so weak?...” A natural response for us is to compare and contrast our lives and testimonies with others, but we know that approach is always tiresome and pointless. The testimony of others should not push us toward jealousy or comparison, it should strengthen us and give us the same authority to overcome in our lives. If we hear a testimony and instantly start degrading and tearing ourselves apart then something is wrong in our hearts. Ezekiel’s testimony of being unshakable should tell us that if God did it for him, He can do it again in us.
WHAT JOY, WHAT CONFIDENCE, WHAT ASSURANCE!
We can look at anyone, any situation in the Bible and say their God is our God! If He was able for them, He is able for me! HE DOES NOT CHANGE. If Jesus is alive, then I will have life too. If He overcame then through Him I will too! The word "will" is a word of promise. Every time I see this word in the Bible referring to what God is going to do or to what God's people will be able to do, I become greatly encouraged.
"They shall lay their hands on the sick and they WILL be healed." Mark 16:18 "Whosoever believes in Him Will not perish but have everlasting life..."John 3:16 "...Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Is. 40:31
I don’t know if that gives anyone confidence as it does for me, but today I believe the Lord is calling us to the same level of faithfulness and intimacy as Ezekiel. Not by might, nor by power, but by His Spirit. The answer is never out of striving or ambition, which always frustrates mankind. If ambition and will-power can get us into heaven and obtain the kingdom then God could’ve spared Jesus of the cross. NO! We can’t obtain anything apart from Jesus. If we want to be unshakable we must find it’s source through intimacy with the Lover of our souls. Out of that relationship with our Savior will flow an unquenchable fire, uncontainable passion, unyielding devotion and unending life. If we do this, then baby, there ain't no mountain high enough...to keep us away from Him.