God said to me: O mortal, stand up on your feet, and I will speak with you.
And when God spoke to me, a spirit entered into me and set me on my feet; and I heard God speaking to me.
God said to me, Mortal, I am sending you to the people of Israel, to a nation of rebels who have rebelled against me;
they and their ancestors have transgressed against me to this very day. The descendants are impudent and stubborn.
I am sending you to them, and you shall say to them, “Thus says the Lord GOD.”
Whether they hear or refuse to hear (for they are a rebellious house),
they shall know that there has been a prophet among them.
Abraham, Moses, Mary the mother of Jesus, Jesus himself, Paul and so many of the Hebrew Prophets. The gift of hearing from God is often balanced in the lives of these individuals with the challenge of what God is about to require of them. And in these verses from Ezekiel, like so many times God sends a message to God’s community through a human vessel, God warns that the messenger will likely be ignored, that in fact, God’s people are sort of stubborn, rebellious even.
Andrew Foster Connors says of these verses, “The church can stand in at least two places in this text: as proclaimer and as receiver of proclamation.” Are we meant to be like the prophets? The ones speaking truth in the face of injustice, love in the face of hatred, urging one another to return to God? Or are we like the ancient community of Israel whom God both loves and is frequently frustrated by? Are we stubborn and willful and in need of a prophet ourselves?
Chances are it’s a both/and. As Christ followers we are called to listen for God’s call. To remember that when it comes it’s not likely to be about us, but about our neighbors, our communities, our human family. As Christ followers we are called to keep watch for the prophets among us, to heed their call and to turn and return to God relinquishing our stubborn hearts.
May you incline your ears for the call
and sending of God,
May you experience God’s Spirit moving in and with you,
May you be strengthened so that you
can stand tall for justice, for love, for God,
May you hear the words of the unlikely prophets in your midst,
The grandmother, the child, the outsider
or enemy speak the word of God in your ear.