Listening with One Ear

July 31, 2017 at 12:20 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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There was a time when God’s people were in captivity for a period of 70 years as chastening for their disobedience and idolatry. During that time, they formally fasted and wept in the fifth and seventh months of each year. These practices were done in obedience to God’s law, but they were done halfheartedly, and God was not deceived.

Speak unto all the people of the land, and to the priests, saying, When ye fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh month, even those seventy years, did ye at all fast unto me, even to me? And when ye did eat, and when ye did drink, did not ye eat for yourselves, and drink for yourselves?

Zechariah 7:5-6

How often are we guilty of observing some type of religious routine without really doing it for the Lord? Have you ever read your Bible or done your devotions with only half of your mind engaged? Doing the assignment or reading the regularly scheduled passage without really listening for the voice of God to speak to you personally? How often do we sit through church sermons with one ear attuned to the preaching of God’s Word and the other ear tuned to other matters, drifting in and out of attentiveness as though we were attending a history lecture or a math lesson while waiting for the school bell to ring?

There is a real danger that, in our selfishness and laziness, we will miss out on what God wants us to know. His Work and His Spirit were not given for our amusement and they are not optional if we are to live victorious Christian lives. God has given us a great gift in being able to listen to His voice through the reading, preaching, and teaching of His Word. The consequences of listening casually without really hearing can be dire.

But they refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they should not hear. Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the Lord of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets: therefore came a great wrath from the Lord of hosts. Therefore it is come to pass, that as he cried, and they would not hear; so they cried, and I would not hear, saith the Lord of hosts: But I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations whom they knew not. Thus the land was desolate after them, that no man passed through nor returned: for they laid the pleasant land desolate.

Zechariah 7:11-14

A man with only one ear engaged when God is speaking may not necessarily hear half as MUCH as the man with two ears, but the problem is that he only hears half as WELL.

Acting Out Against Acting Up

October 26, 2011 at 10:55 am | Posted in Ezekiel | 3 Comments
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Ezekiel the priest heeded God’s call to be a prophet.

The word of the LORD came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the LORD was there upon him.

Ezekiel 1:3

He fell on his face when he saw the glory of the Lord.

As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake.

Ezekiel 1:28

God picked him up and told him to stand up, be still, listen, don’t be afraid. He had something important to tell him.

And he said unto me, Son of man, stand upon thy feet, and I will speak unto thee. And the spirit entered into me when he spake unto me, and set me upon my feet, that I heard him that spake unto me.

Ezekiel 2:1-2

Christians go to church to be in the presence of God corporately with other believers, to hear the Word of God through the preaching, and to get our instructions from God. Although we might experience some overpowering emotions when we hear from God, we need to remember that one of the main reasons for attending church is to prepare for battle. We are there to get our marching orders, not to indulge in an emotional outburst.

Christian churches welcome unbelievers, and these who are sin-sick may certainly be excused for their extreme reactions to the truth or (hopefully) their exuberant rejoicing when they hear the Good News for the first time. Christians, though, need to remember that we are to yield our members to righteousness, and not to the emotional desires of the flesh.

After Ezekiel got up, he ingested the Word – God caused him to “eat” it.

But thou, son of man, hear what I say unto thee; Be not thou rebellious like that rebellious house: open thy mouth, and eat that I give thee.

Ezekiel 2:8

Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel. So I opened my mouth, and he caused me to eat that roll. And he said unto me, Son of man, cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee. Then did I eat it; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness.

Ezekiel 3:1-3

God’s people were captives in Babylon.

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 3:15

Even though they were captives and they were not living the right way, God was promising them a victorious return to Jerusalem. Ezekiel was supposed to prophesy to them using “action sermons:” wordless plays in which he would act out spiritual truth.

But thou, O son of man, behold, they shall put bands upon thee, and shall bind thee with them, and thou shalt not go out among them: And I will make thy tongue cleave to the roof of thy mouth, that thou shalt be dumb, and shalt not be to them a reprover: for they are a rebellious house.

Ezekiel 3:25-26

Using a tile, he acted out the siege of Jerusalem.

Thou also, son of man, take thee a tile, and lay it before thee, and pourtray upon it the city, even Jerusalem: And lay siege against it, and build a fort against it, and cast a mount against it; set the camp also against it, and set battering rams against it round about.

Ezekiel 4:1-2

Then he had to lie down a certain way for a certain number of days and only eat certain things at certain times.

And, behold, I will lay bands upon thee, and thou shalt not turn thee from one side to another, till thou hast ended the days of thy siege. Take thou also unto thee wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentiles, and millet, and fitches, and put them in one vessel, and make thee bread thereof, according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon thy side, three hundred and ninety days shalt thou eat thereof.

Ezekiel 4:8-9

Can you imagine lying 40 days on one side and 390 on the other side? The significance was the 40 years of wandering by the Israelites in the wilderness after they left Egypt, and the 390 years of kings from Rehoboam, the son of Solomon.

To enact the famine in Judah, the Lord had Ezekiel alter his physical appearance. While these sermons were being acted out Ezekiel became quite a spectacle. People were showing up to watch. He cut his hair and his beard.

And thou, son of man, take thee a sharp knife, take thee a barber’s razor, and cause it to pass upon thine head and upon thy beard: then take thee balances to weigh, and divide the hair.

Ezekiel 5:1

Then he burned one-third of it on the “siege brick” to represent the famine and the pestilence of the siege.

Thou shalt burn with fire a third part in the midst of the city, when the days of the siege are fulfilled: and thou shalt take a third part, and smite about it with a knife: and a third part thou shalt scatter in the wind; and I will draw out a sword after them.

Ezekiel 5:2

A second third he hacked to bits with a sword, and the last third he scattered in the wind, representing the Jews taken to Babylon in captivity, who were spread and lost among the Gentiles. A small amount he bound up in the hem of his garment – representing the “remnant.”

Leading by Example

April 12, 2010 at 10:42 am | Posted in Ezra, Uncategorized | 8 Comments
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The city of Jerusalem was in ruins. The temple there had been destroyed. The city walls were breached and broken. The Jewish people were in captivity in Babylon. Then, one day, God caused a faithful group of His people to return to Jerusalem to undertake the imposing task of rebuilding the walls, repopulating the city, and restoring the temple.

Progress was being made until around 530 B.C. For about 10 years the people were forbidden to continue by the Persian king, Artaxerxes, and they worked on their own houses, rather than the house of God.

Two main factors got God’s people back on track, and motivated them to resume God’s work. One was Godly preaching.

Then the prophets, Haggai the prophet, and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied unto the Jews that were in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel, even unto them.

Ezra 5:1

There is power in the prophesying (preaching) of God’s Word.

The second factor was that the ones doing the preaching were not afraid to get their hands dirty, and set a Godly example by practicing what they prophesied.

Then rose up Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and began to build the house of God which is at Jerusalem: and with them were the prophets of God helping them.

Ezra 5:2, emphasis added

Spiritual leaders are often called upon to use their mouths, but they should also be willing to use their backs.


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