I had started a study on Ezekiel in January, but due to seminary studies, I had to delay until the semester was over. I picked up where I left off and that is with Ezekiel 3:4-11. This is the second commissioning speech of God to Ezekiel and is very powerful to everyone that is called by God to vocational ministry and even aspects can be applied to all Christians. I use 2 commentaries when studying Ezekiel (not an easy read or easily understood). One is a 2-volume work by Daniel Block and the other is the NIV Application commentary by Iain Drugoid. In today's reading, I read through Block's commentary and he lists 6 lessons that come from the relationship between God and those He calls into service.
1 - Whoever serves as a messenger of God must recognize that the calling comes from God. No ministry need, no examples of Gifts, no other voices can authorize this calling, but God alone.
2 - God's messenger must have a clear vision of the one who sends him. God prepared Ezekiel for the audience he was to speak to. Unless the servant of God enters divine service with a sense of awe at the privilege of representing the King of kings and that God is sovereign over all things, the ministry will become a burden.
3 - God's messenger must be empowered by the Spirit of God. Ezekiel was referred to as "the prophet of the Spirit."
4 - The messenger of God must be inspired by the message of God. Merely hearing the message of God is not enough. It must be digested, internalized, incorporated, embodied and lived. "Live you faith; share your life." (from Brother Maynard) If we are not inspired by the Word of God, what will inspire us? If we are not moved with compassion because of Christ's compassion in Matthew 9, what will move us?
5 - Whoever serves as a messenger of God will be divinely equipped. The modern saying has been, "God equips the called, not call the equipped." God's call to service is not made on the basis of gifts; gifts are given on the basis of the assignment. What may seem an obvious fit in man's eyes is not so in God's. We see the gifts of the outward man. God knows the heart of man.
6 - The messenger of God must recognize that the calling is not to success but to faithfulness. Too many in ministry look at numbers. Are we involved in a ministry because we want success, big numbers? We are involved in ministry because God has called us to be in this or that particular ministry. God wants obedience and that comes from us being faithful to Him. As Block said, the privilege of being a messenger of the divine King should provide sufficient motivation for unconditional service.
Any thoughts? This was very eye-opening to me this morning and I will be chewing on this all day. I have been called to be a messenger of God. How does all this relate to me and how do I view these things?