Over this Christmas break, a few friends and I committed to reading the book of Ezekial. Why? We weren’t really sure, but it was clear during our last Bible study before break that we should. I had never read Ezekial before and, honestly, I didn’t expect to relate to its content. I mean, how could prophecies about the demise of countless nations and rulers relate to my life? What struck me, however, had nothing to do with the prophecies themselves, but rather the prophet.
In Chapters 1-3, the Lord reveals himself to Ezekial in a powerful way, which causes Ezekial to stumble to the ground and fall on his face in reverence before the King of Kings. Interestingly enough, it is in this state–one of complete humility and helplessness–that Ezekial hears his calling from the Lord, a calling that struck my heart.
God does not tell Ezekial to go to the farthest edge of the world nor to the most primitive people nor to the most unknown culture–He tells him to GO HOME.
“He then said to me: ‘Son of man, go now to the HOUSE OF ISRAEL
and speak my words to them. You are not being sent to a people of
obscure speech and difficult language, but to the house of Israel–not to
many peoples of obscure speech and difficult language, whose words
you cannot understand. Surely, if I had sent you to them, they would
have listened to you. But the house of Israel is not willing to listen to
you because they are not willing to listen to me.’” (Ez. 3:4-7)
Sometimes, the people who frustrate me the most are those who are closest to me, those in my family, those who are most similar to me. Consequently, I often show the most compassion and desperation for the people of the world who are most unlike me in color, language, and culture. Why is that? I am not saying that going out in the world to those “peoples of obscure speech and difficult language” is a bad thing–there is ample need to the gospel all over the world. However, some of our biggest problems are right at home.
I can name a few people, all of whom are exceptionally close to me, for whom I am in constant prayer. It is because of them that I relate to Ezekial’s call–sometimes those who are most like you are the most difficult to reach and the most obstinate to the message of Christ. The fact that they can look at my life and see that it–as far as appearance, language, and culture goes–is not much different than their own, inhibits their desire to change and slows the message of the gospel.
The purpose of this message is singular: Don’t assume that the need for Jesus Christ is greater far away from your world and your family or friends. Sometimes the person in greatest desperation for the gospel has been standing right next to you your whole life. Reach out to them.
Often I hear people get frustrated with being here at APU because they feel as though they are wasting their time. They would rather be out changing the world rather than studying about it. GO HOME. You will be surprised, as I think Ezekial was, at how much your brother, mother, father, cousin, aunt, grandfather, or best friend may need to hear what you have to say.
Enjoy life here and rejoice in the good news of what He has given you!