Derek Smith, Lead Pastor LHBC
And he said to me, “Son of man, go to the house of Israel and speak with my words to them. 5 For you are not sent to a people of foreign speech and a hard language, but to the house of Israel— 6 not to many peoples of foreign speech and a hard language, whose words you cannot understand. Surely, if I sent you to such, they would listen to you. 7 But the house of Israel will not be willing to listen to you, for they are not willing to listen to me: because all the house of Israel have a hard forehead and a stubborn heart. 8 Behold, I have made your face as hard as their faces, and your forehead as hard as their foreheads. 9 Like emery harder than flint have I made your forehead. Fear them not, nor be dismayed at their looks, for they are a rebellious house.” 10 Moreover, he said to me, “Son of man, all my words that I shall speak to you receive in your heart, and hear with your ears. 11 And go to the exiles, to your people, and speak to them and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God,’ whether they hear or refuse to hear.”
A police officer in a small town stopped a motorist who was speeding down Main Street.
“But officer,” the man began, “I can explain.”
“Quiet!” snapped the officer, “I’m going to let you spend the night in jail until the chief gets back.”
“But officer, I just wanted to say…”
“And I said be quiet! You’re going to jail!”
A few hours later the officer looked in on his prisoner and said, “Lucky for you, the chief’s at his daughter’s wedding so he’ll be in a good mood when he gets back.”
“Don’t count on it,” answered the guy in the cell. “I’m the groom.”
Stubbornness can get you in a mess. Scripture has much to say about listening to others and not being prideful. A wise man or woman will receive godly counsel with humility. A person growing in Christ will allow his or her mind to be changed when the Spirit of God reveals new truth to them through the Word of God. In James 3 we are told to be reasonable, gentle, and willing to compromise when it glorifies God.
However, there are certain times when being stubborn is the only right course of action. There are overarching truths that we cannot back up on. When it comes to being narrow minded our Lord Jesus Christ might be the greatest example of this because He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life and no man comes to the Father but by me.” That’s pretty narrow minded!
Ezekiel was a called prophet of God during a dark time in Israel’s history. Immorality and idolatry ruled the day, and God told Ezekiel to warn the people of coming judgment. In fact, the Lord went on to tell him that if he didn’t give the warning their blood would be on his hands. Yahweh even went as far as to tell Ezekiel ahead of time that they would not listen to him. Not a real warm fuzzy kind of ministry was it? In the midst of this stubborn generation the Lord told Ezekiel that he would make his head like flint and his face as hard as theirs. Ezekiel’s call was not to be hard-hearted toward them but hard-headed in terms of the gospel message. He couldn’t change it or make it more plausible or palatable. Judgment is a hard pill to swallow, but it’s the remedy God had prescribed. As a good spiritual doctor, it was Ezekiel’s job to give the hard news.
John Adams once said, “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” For the Child of God we know that Yahweh God is the holy sovereign Creator of the Universe. That’s a fact. We know that Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God and it’s only through submission to His Lordship that we receive the free gift of eternal life He won for us through His blood shed on the cross and subsequent resurrection. That’s a fact. He is coming again to bring judgment on those who rebel against his law. That’s a fact.
Child of God, I implore you to be hard-headed on the message of the gospel just like Ezekiel. We are not called to be hard-hearted toward people. It’s been said that if you can’t talk about hell with a tear in your eye then you shouldn’t talk about it. We are called to be tenderhearted but hard-headed. Facts are facts. Truth is truth. The world needs to know the truth. Today, be stubborn for the Savior. Just like a doctor sharing bad news to a patient, it is the most loving thing we can do.
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Father God, forgive me of my sin. Draw me near to Your heart oh God. Help me share your hard message with a tender heart toward others. Give me Your love for the world and Your love for holiness at the same time. Make me brave for You oh God. In Jesus name I pray, amen.
MEMORY VERSE OF THE WEEK:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.