The Lord told Ezekiel some things that are very important for those who are called to a preaching ministry to remember.
1. The first thing God said was, Dont be afraid of them (Ezek.2:6). This word occurs very frequently: Dont be afraid even though their threats are sharp as thorns, barbed like briars, and even though their threats sting like scorpions. Dont be dismayed by the dark scowls on their faces. (Ezek.2:6). Israel scowled at Ezekiel when he prophesied, and threatened to kill him. Every prophet has faced such opposition. But God stood by those prophets, and He will stand by you if your calling lies to speak to people like this. The confidence of these prophets was in the sovereignty of God. The Lord told Ezekiel, You must give them my messages whether they listen or not (Ezek.2:7). Even if they dont listen, they will recognize one day that a prophet had come to them. Once the message is given, the prophets responsibility is over. But if he didnt give the message, then their blood would be on his hands.
In Ezekiel Chapter 3, the Lord told Ezekiel to eat the scroll He gave. The message which we give others must be eaten and digested by us first. Gods Word was sweet as honey in his mouth. In the book of Revelation too, the Lord told John to first eat the scroll. Only then were Ezekiel and John permitted to prophesy. This is a fundamental principle in all ministry of the Word. The Word which God desires to speak to others through you, He wants to speak to you first of all. Gods Word challenges preachers with questions such as: You who preach that one should not steal, do you steal? (Rom.2:21). When you speak evil about someone, you are stealing his reputation. Do you recognise that as stealing, or do you recognise only stealing money as stealing? You who preach that others should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? Do you lust with your eyes? We must eat the scroll ourselves first, if God is to anoint our ministry. Most preachers today are preaching without first eating the scroll themselves. That is why their ministry is so dead and boring. If you want an effective ministry, eat the scroll first. The word of God is like a two edged sword the first edge must cut me, and only then can I use the other edge to cut others. If it doesnt cut us first, we will be hard and unmerciful in our preaching to others. So eat the scroll.
2. Here is another important principle of ministry: So I got up and I saw the glory of the Lord just as I had seen it first. And I fell with face down in the dust. ( Ezek.3:23). Put your face in the dust always. Sometimes it is good to do that actually - physically. Lie down on the floor in your room before God and say, Lord, this is where I rightfully belong. This is what I am - a nobody in your eyes. We who stand in front of others and preach are in great danger because so many people admire us and exalt us. More than anybody else, we are the ones who need to get alone before the Lord frequently and to lie down flat before Him and recognise that we are nothing in his eyes.
God can take away our breath in a moment. He can take away our anointing in a moment. I fear to lose the anointing more than anything else in my life. I would rather lose all my money and all my health than lose the anointing of God upon my life. It is easy to lose the anointing by being a little careless with money or with our tongue or in some other small matter. When Ezekiels face was in the dust, the Spirit came into him and set him on his feet. There in the dust before God is where the Spirit will fall upon us. Let Him then lift us up and exalt us. Never exalt yourself.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon