Friday, August 28, 2009

Happy Missionary!

We were 26. I remember being in the airplane, flying to Bogota Colombia. After 9 years of preparation and training, we were now full time missionaries. Our lives were to be dedicated to spreading the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There was a strong sense of excitement and wonder.

Not so for Ezekiel.

He was called and commissioned by God Himself.

4 -6 "Then he told me, "Son of man, go to the family of Israel and speak my Message. Look, I'm not sending you to a people who speak a hard-to-learn language with words you can hardly pronounce. If I had sent you to such people, their ears would have perked up and they would have listened immediately.
7 -9 "But it won't work that way with the family of Israel. They won't listen to you because they won't listen to me. They are, as I said, a hard case, hardened in their sin. But I'll make you as hard in your way as they are in theirs. I'll make your face as hard as rock, harder than granite. Don't let them intimidate you. Don't be afraid of them, even though they're a bunch of rebels."
10 -11 Then he said, "Son of man, get all these words that I'm giving you inside you. Listen to them obediently. Make them your own. And now go. Go to the exiles, your people, and speak. Tell them, 'This is the Message of God, the Master.' Speak your piece, whether they listen or not."

It was to be a hard message to a hard people, needing a hard prophet to deliver it.

So there was no airplane ride. God HIMSELF picked Ezekiel up and delivered him.

12 -13 "Then the Spirit picked me up. Behind me I heard a great commotion—"Blessed be the Glory of God in his Sanctuary!"—the wings of the living creatures beating against each other, the whirling wheels, the rumble of a great earthquake.
14 -15 The Spirit lifted me and took me away."

What could be a more fantastical, exciting way to arrive at your destination than that! Ezekiel, of course, was thrilled. Excited. Full of eager anticipation!


14 -15 "I went bitterly and angrily. I didn't want to go. But God had me in his grip. I arrived among the exiles who lived near the Kebar River at Tel Aviv. I came to where they were living and sat there for seven days, appalled. "

So for the first week, the newly selected, appointed, called, commissioned prophet sat and - SULKED!

Not the most auspicious commencement of a long and illustrious missionary career!!

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