Ezekiel–Example for Preachers

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My Source:
Matters of THE Faith
Vol 4, #3, October–December, 1998
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Author: Curtis A. Cates
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File Under: BIBLE MEN or PREACHING or EZEKIEL
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EZEKIEL–EXAMPLE FOR PREACHERS (and OTHER LEADERS)

This writer has long admired Ezekiel, priest and prophet of God, the most like Christ of all the prophets of the Old Testament. The following are just a few of the many admirable qualities of this great example for leaders in the Lord’s church.

1) EZEKIEL SAW THE GLORY OF THE LORD
Ezekiel, like Isaiah (Isaiah 6;1ff), Moses (Exodus 3:6), and Saul, or Paul (Acts 22:14,15) saw the glory of the Lord. How great is the Lord we serve, how great in majesty! His cause is the greatest ever; what a privilege to do His work (2 Cor 6:1; Rom 1:14-17); 1 Cor 3:9; 15:58).

2) EZEKIEL REALIZED HOW IMPERFECT HE WAS
As those mentioned above, Ezekiel realized how imperfect he was as compared to the Father in His holiness (Ezekiel 1:28). Isaiah said, “Woe is me…” (Isaiah 6:5), “Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God” (Exodus 3:6), and Paul exclaimed, “What shall I do, Lord?” (Acts 22:10). When people humble themselves before God, He can use them
powerfully in His cause (Matthew 5:3). We should remember God’s majesty when we approach His majestic throne in humble prayer. Ezekiel was humble (Ezekiel 2:1; 3:1; 4:1; et.al.).

3) EZEKIEL HAD A TENDER HEART
Ezekiel was able to be touched with the needs of the people of Israel (Ezekiel 19:1,4). His mourning over the death of his wife was not to be as great as his mourning over the sins of the people (Ezekiel 24:15-18). God told him about his wife’s death, “…thou shalt neither mourn nor weep, neither shall thy tears run down.” He “fell upon my face, and cried,” (over Israel’s condition), and said, “Ah, Lord Jehovah! Wilt thou destroy all the residue of Israel in thy pouring out of thy wrath upon Jerusalem?” (Ezekiel 9:8).

4) EZEKIEL WAS WILLING TO BE USED BY THE LORD
Ezekiel ate the little book (God’s message) and spoke it to Israel (Ezekiel 9:8). Sadly enough, though, whereas foreigners would have hearkened to God’s Word, “…the house of Israel will not hearken unto thee; for they will not hearken unto me: for all the house of Israel are of a hard forehead and of a stiff heart” (Ezekiel 3:7). God made Ezekiel’s forehead hard, and he was to “fear them not, neither be dismayed at their looks, though they are a rebellious house” (Ezekiel 3:8-9). And, though he was ridiculed and persecuted for preaching the Truth. He was a man of courage, though genuinely loving.

5) EZEKIEL REBUKED THE FALSE SHEPHERDS AND THE FALSE PROPHETS (Ezekiel 13:1ff)
“Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, even to the shepherds, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Woe unto the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the sheep?” Ezekiel 34:2). They neglected the sick and diseased, they sought not the lost (Ezk 34:3-4). Like with the hireling (John 10:12), the precious sheep were scattered; none searched after them (Ezk 34:5-6).

6) EZEKIEL CONSOLED AND COMFORTED THOSE FEW WHO REPENTED
They would return from Babylon after seventy years of captivity (Jer 29:10; Daniel 9:2). Ultimately, God prophesied through Ezekiel, “I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David (Christ); he shall be their shepherd. And I Jehovah, have spoken it” (Ezekiel 34:23,24; Isaiah 40:11; Jeremiah 23:1-3).

People today need to be warned and encouraged to turn to God, as did Ezekiel (Ezekiel 3:17-21). They need to obey the Gospel (Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:36-38). The erring need to return to the fold of safety (Acts 8:22-24). Let us follow the great example of Ezekiel, who reminded his hearers of the great responsibility of every individual for his own sins
and his own life (Ezekiel 18:20; Romans 14:11; 2 Corinthians 5:10).

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The Old Fisherman

My Source: GarysList–by kerux@juno.com
October 27, 1998
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Author: Unknown
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File Under: REAL BEAUTY, 1 Samuel
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Our house was directly across the street from the clinic entrance of JohnHopkins Hospital in Baltimore. We lived downstairs and rented the upstairs rooms to out patients at the clinic. One summer evening as I was fixing supper, there was a knock at the door. I opened it to see a truly awful looking man. Why, he’s hardly taller than my eight-year-old,” I thought as I stared at the stooped, shriveled body. But the appalling thing was his face-lopsided from swelling, red and raw. Yet his voice was pleasant as he said, “Good evening. I’ve come to see if you’ve a room for just one night. I came for a treatment this morning from the eastern shore, and there’s no bus till morning.” He told me he’d been hunting for a room since noon but with no success, no one seemed to have a room. “I guess it’s my face: I know it looks terrible, but my doctor says with a few more treatments. . .” For a moment I hesitated, but his next words convinced me. “I could sleep in this rocking chair on the porch. My bus leaves early in the morning.” I told him we would find him a bed, but to rest on the porch.

I went inside and finished getting supper. When we were ready, I asked the old man if he would join us. “No thank you. I have plenty.” And he held up a brown paper bag. When I had finished the dishes, I went out on the porch to talk with him a few minutes. It didn’t take long time to see that this old man had an oversized heart crowded into that tiny body. He
told me he fished for a living to support his daughter, her five children, and her husband, who was hopelessly crippled from a back injury. He didn’t tell it by way of complaint; in fact, every other sentence was prefaced with a thanks to God for a blessing. He was grateful that no pain accompanied his disease, which was apparently a form of skin cancer.

He thanked God for giving him the strength to keep going. At bedtime, we put a camp cot in the children’s room for him. When I got up in the morning, the bed linens were neatly folded and the little man was out on the porch. He refused breakfast, but just before he left for his bus, haltingly, as if asking a great favour, he said, “Could I please come back
and stay the next time I have a treatment? I won’t put you out a bit. I can sleep fine in a chair.” He paused a moment and then added, “Your children made me feel at home. Grownups are bothered by my face, but children don’t seem to mind.” I told him he was welcome to come again. And on his next trip he arrived a little after seven in the morning. As a
gift, he brought a big fish and a quart of the largest oysters I had ever seen. He said he had shucked them that morning before he left so that they’d be nice and fresh I knew his bus left at 4:00 a.m. and I wondered what time he had to get up in order to do this for us.

In the years he came to stay overnight with us there was never a time that he did not bring us fish or oysters or vegetables from his garden. Other times we received packages in the mail, always by special delivery; fish and oysters packed in a box of fresh young spinach or kale, every leaf carefully washed. Knowing that he must walk three miles to mail these, and knowing how little money he had made the gifts doubly precious. When I received these little remembrances, I often thought of a comment our next-door neighbor made after he left that first morning. “Did you
keep that awful looking man last night? I turned him away! You can lose roomers by putting up such people!” Maybe we did lose roomers once or twice. But oh! If only they could have known him, perhaps their illnesses would have been easier to bear.

I know our family always will be grateful to have known him; from him we learned what it was to accept the bad without complaint and the good with gratitude to God. Recently I was visiting a friend who has a greenhouse, As she showed me her flowers, we came to the most beautiful one of all, a golden chrysanthemum, bursting with blooms. But to my great surprise, it was growing in an old dented, rusty bucket. I thought to myself, “If this were my plant, I’d put it in the loveliest container I had!” My friend changed my mind. “I ran short of pots,” she explained, “and knowing how
beautiful this one would be, I thought it wouldn’t mind starting out in this old pail. It’s just for a little while, till I can put it out in the garden.” She must have wondered why I laughed so delightedly, but I was imagining just such a scene in heaven. “Here’s an especially beautiful one,” God might have said when he came to the soul of the sweet old fisherman. “He won’t mind starting in this small body.” All this happened long ago – and now, in God’s garden, how tall this lovely, soul must stand. (Source of article could not be traced.)
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But the Lord said to Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).