I give you Ezekiel 2:4b-5a …
“….. I do send thee unto them, Thus saith the LORD GOD. And they, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear.”
These are words taken from the King James Version (KJV).
“For they are impudent and stubborn children. I am sending you to them, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God.’ As for them, whether they hear or whether they refuse — for they are a rebellious house — yet they will know that a prophet has been among them.”
These are words taken from the New King James Version Ezekiel 2:4-5 (NKJV).
Ezekiel was a great Prophet but he was also human. You will find that he was asked by God to proclaim numerous messages to His people that were extremely unpopular.
If you read the entire Book you will find that at one point Ezekiel’s humanity spoke directly to God and said, (paraphrasing)
“God, if these people are stiff-necked and rebellious as you and I both know they are, why would you ask me to give them a message which you already know they are not going to heed?”
Telling people things they do not want to hear is no fun. Believe it or not, no one wants to be rejected.
Very few people like being ridiculed or branded a troublemaker, or one who constantly stirs up animosity.
In the case of the Old Testament prophets, it meant you could lose your head and many did.
Whether we admit it or not, we all like being popular and people saying nice things about us.
I don’t think anyone likes being called a liar or a false prophet, or being accused of twisting God’s Word for their own purpose, although many do twist things to fit their own mold or dogma.
And it’s also true that most of us would rather everything just goes along smoothly and nothing much happens to rock the boat.
Remaining silent to procure peace is a common behavior that spurs the attitude, “just let well enough alone.” In other words, let things be as they are.
No one likes the judgment of God to fall upon them. And frankly, no one likes being reproved or rebuked.
It’s easy for most of us to see that we must correct our children if they are to learn and mend their ways; however, we tend to shy away from the absolute fact that God chooses and sees the need to correct and discipline His children also.
This idea that we are grown people and nobody needs to tell us what to do is a good one except not all of us are doing what we are supposed to be doing.
I hear every day people saying they don’t need a preacher, they can get along just fine by themselves.
We don’t need to quote scripture about that, but with everything we see going on in this world and in the Church, it seems like SOMEBODY needs to say something.
It was never meant that we should allow some clergyman to totally rule our lives, and that we cannot make adult decisions for ourselves.
But sometimes, it is necessary for God to speak directly to a person or an assembly.
It’s very true that we can hear God for ourselves but what happens when we don’t, when our own human ego and desires deflect what is good and right for our lives and, our churches.
God sends a man, or a woman. Someone who has been guided and asked to deliver a message that many may not want to hear.
We as a people, are going to face the truth that most will reject the message.
I heard someone say today that only 20% will hear the words of a true prophet. We could never admit that one reason we do not want to correct our kids as they should be today, is that we don’t want to be corrected ourselves.
Reproof and rebuke is necessary and this rejection of being admonished is one reason why we are so undisciplined, hard of hearing and cold-hearted.
If we are honest, one of the things that caused us to turn off correction as church people, is that we were somewhat abused by those in authority who demanded absolute obedience, whether is was logical, necessary or scriptural.
The same thing that causes rebellion in our children, will also cause rebellion in us; doing it in the wrong way, without love and tolerance.
The word “forbear” in this case means “resist.” Telling people what needs to be said, whether they will hear it and accept it, or they will resist it and not endure it.
God has appointed messengers to His people. Their calling and their job is to deliver messages, Words from the LORD, whether people like what they hear or whether they heed it or not.
These messages are vital to the health and welfare of the Church. No one is exempt.
To those who are in leadership, if you assume that the leadership does not need reproof and correction at times, that our trusted leaders cannot get off on the wrong foot or lean to their own understanding, then you might indeed go down the wrong path and take many others with you.
It’s time that saints as well as leadership come face to face with the fact that we at times have been swayed and influenced by false teaching.
We have claimed things we do not have, we have required things of people that were not based on scripture and we all have caused harm to others and to the Church, especially the church.
If our top officials are playing politics and are more concerned with re-election and staying in power and pleasing men, who’s going to give correction to the pastors and evangelists?
In fact, who’s going to give correction to Them?
The idea that no one was to question any of this, should have been a real sign that something was truly amiss with this setup.
If the laity continues to sit back and allow their lives and their churches to be run by those who are not operating in the full Apostolic, biblical order that is outlined in the New Testament, then they will be guilty of not only complacency, but coercion.
Every saint of God is responsible for the condition their local body is in. If you are not standing and speaking for what you know is the truth and you are paying someone to deliver a watered-down version of what you claim to be, then you are settling for much less then what God intended for you to have.
If you keep proclaiming “decently and in order,” then it’s past time for you to do just that.
Our people are sick, we’ve losing folks that we should not be, we continue to look good on the outside but we are full of disappointment, bitterness and anguish.
It is decent and it is in order for the Body of Christ to require that it is fed properly and that they be allowed to operate as God has called them to do.
There will be no more “cop-out” for saints of The Most High God to sit warming a pew and not reaching their potential; allowing their brothers and sisters as well as their children to be driven out into the street to be lost without hope over some mans opinion or ideas and no one even bothers to go look for them.
Judgment begins at the House of God. It’s about time we remembered that. We will begin restoring others who have fallen or we will fall ourselves. That is also written.
I’m telling all of you that I feel the worst is yet to come and I don’t think many of us are ready.
I don’t mean ready to meet the LORD, I mean prepared for the trouble and difficulties that we might have to face.
All of the positive thinking methods in the world will not stand against that which is in front of us.
False teachers told us we would not see tribulation, that we would all be gone from here when serious trouble comes.
They argued tribulation doctrine until they totally forgot that if we do not love one another, we’re not going anywhere anyway!
The only thing that will spare us will be the power of Almighty God and our love for one another.
Jesus Christ could come at any moment, but somebody needs to say, “What are we going to do if He doesn’t?”
This is the kind of message nobody wants to hear.
We’ve strayed from the old paths, and I’m not talking about arguing over standards and doctrine again.
The very idea that we’ve spent too much time already fighting over those things, casting people into Hell while we forgot about love and true compassion, is most revealing about how prepared we are.
The idea that we have possibly “left our first love” is not a myth, it’s a reality. We claim Power but yet we get weaker.
It’s about time we asked ourselves, why?
I don’t claim to be anything, just someone who wants to try to please God and give back just a little for all the mercy and grace He has shown to me.
Millions are dying today feeling like God does not love them and that the Church no longer cares.
Does the Church care about itself, or has it turned a deaf ear?
Weeping may endure for a night, but for some of us, joy may not come in the morning.
That’s a message no one wants to hear.
First published: November 27, 2011.
~ Robert Blackburn