Matters of THE Faith
Vol 4, #3, October–December, 1998
Author: Curtis A. Cates
File Under: BIBLE MEN or PREACHING or EZEKIEL
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).