Read Ezekiel 2
Focus on verse 3
“This mission, should you choose to accept it, has little chance of success and will inevitably involve significant injury, but don’t be afraid to accept it.” How would you respond to this kind of offer? I suspect my answer might sound something like this; “Hmmm, let me think about that for a moment…yeah, thanks for thinking of me, but I think I’ll pass. “
This was the kind of offer Ezekiel was presented with, only it doesn’t really sound like he was given the option to decline the offer. The semantics of the way the event is described are really quite interesting. The Lord says, “Son of man, stand on your feet…” and as He is speaking Ezekiel says “the Spirit entered into me and set me on my feet.” (v. 2) It would seem the Lord did not even wait for Ezekiel to try to stand up himself; He just picked him up and set him on his feet.
I wonder if it would be reading into the text here to suggest that this is indicative of the way God works, particularly when He calls us to a difficult mission. Ezekiel’s instructions were not unlike those given to Jeremiah. “…I send you to the people of Israel, to nations of rebels, who have rebelled against me.” (v. 3) God describes Ezekiel’s audience as impudent, stubborn and rebellious, and He instructs him to deliver the message “whether they hear or refuse to hear” (v. 5 & 7).
Two things jump out at me from this; first when God calls us to a mission we can know He will “stand us on our feet” – He will provide the strength we need to accomplish it. Second, our success in fulfilling His mission is not dependent on the positive response of those He sends us to reach; rather, it is entirely dependent on our faithfulness in delivering His message regardless of the response we receive.
When God sends us on a mission, it is our obedience to His instruction that defines the success of the mission not the results. We live in a culture that defines success almost exclusively by results, which at times causes us to be tempted to compromise our obedience in order to fabricate some essence of results. It would be most unfortunate to find ourselves standing before God one day expecting to be commended for all the great things we believe we accomplished for Him – only to discover that we missed the most important thing He asked us to do.