May 17, 2009


Ezekiel 3:1-9

“I will make your forehead like the hardest stone, harder than flint.”
Ezekiel 3:9


Ezekiel’s call to be a prophet gives us an inkling about two barriers to the message of salvation: language and stubbornness. In this case, Israel’s language was not the problem. The problem was that they had an obstinate heart; they did not want to listen to the words of God.

Some languages are easy to master; others are difficult. Some hearts are trembling, eager for Christ, while others are locked and double-bolted. All kinds of variations and combinations make the challenge of missions and evangelism different in each country.

As Jesus’ witnesses, however, we’ve got to be tough. We can’t be wilting flowers. We must have moral fiber, which is unusual in our generation. Former TV news anchor Tom Brokaw wrote about The Greatest Generation, people who grew up in the Great Depression and became adults during World War II. They showed great courage. It is often a disadvantage to grow up coddled; it can make us overly sensitive and easily discouraged.

God made Ezekiel’s forehead “harder than flint.”

What do we do when we run into barriers against the message of Christ?

Do we fold up and say words like these: “Hey, if it works for you, that’s OK …”? Or do we obey the Lord, who said, “You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen …” (Ezekiel 2:7)?

Lord, make us like Jesus—so gentle that he would not quench a smoldering wick, but so courageous that he set his face like flint to go to the cross. In his name we pray. Amen.

About the author — George Young

George Young, a native New Yorker, worked as a taxi driver in New York City before studying to become a pastor. Then he, his wife Ruth, and their children were missionaries for many years in northeastern Japan. They worked with ministers and believers from the Reformed Church in Japan to spread the good news of salvation in Christ and ­establish new churches. Now George and Ruth are retired and live in the northeastern United States, nearer to their children and grandchildren.

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