Read Ezekiel 4
Focus on verse 1-2
I’ve only been to California twice in my life where I have had a little time to drive around and do a little sight seeing. One these excursions it was not uncommon to see panhandlers beside the road holding handwritten cardboard signs that read “will work for food” or something to that end. The one that remains most solidly etched in my memory however was the fella that held the sign that read, “Need parts for my spaceship”. I did not stop to make a contribution, but in retrospect, perhaps I should have at least stopped to commend him on his creativity. The word “kook” actually did come to mind at the time.
I can’t help but think that Ezekiel must have received a lot of similar looks as he spent 390 days laying on one side and then 40 on the other with an iron griddle between himself and the tiny model city that God had instructed him to build. Who does that kind of thing? This is not exactly the kind of behavior that communicates, “hey, I’m a rational, intelligent person. You should listen to me.” This kind of acting out lands nearer to communicating, “I’ve lost all my marbles and should probably be institutionalized before I hurt someone!” Yet, here we read it in black and white. Ezekiel was not a lunatic, nor a kook. He was a prophet of God, doing and saying exactly what God had instructed him to do and say.
This is the kind of biblical narrative that causes me to do a double take when I see the long-haired, bearded guy wearing a dirty old robe standing on the street corner holding the sign that says, “Repent, while there is still time!” While I’m not certain that his method is being very effective, I also not certain he is not doing exactly what God instructed Him to. Now, if his sign read “join me on my spaceship before the world is destroyed by aliens,” then, I would be inclined to think he’s probably a kook, or at best a prankster.
The difference between a kook and a messenger of God really comes down to the message. If the message is consistent with what God has revealed in the Bible – it may be possible that God is trying to get our attention. On the other hand, if the message is contradictory to what we read in the Bible – there’s a pretty good chance we got a kook on our hands, or a best someone just trying to get attention. Either way, if we don’t know what the Bible says…how will we tell one from the other?