So the other day I was reading trying to come up with a message for last Sunday night at church. I did the usual when you're not sure and just flip through until something opens up. One passage that I read was in Ezekiel 2, and it was late Saturday night (after I'd outlined and come up with a sermon, not the Saturday Night Special) that I really came to terms with a purpose and mission as a Bible teacher. Here is the passage:
And he said to me, “Son of man, stand on your feet, and I will speak with you.” 2 And as he spoke to me, the Spirit entered into me and set me on my feet, and I heard him speaking to me. 3 And he said to me, “Son of man, I send you to the people of Israel, to nations of rebels, who have rebelled against me. They and their fathers have transgressed against me to this very day. 4 The descendants also are impudent and stubborn: I send you to them, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God.’ 5 And whether they hear or refuse to hear (for they are a rebellious house) they will know that a prophet has been among them. 6 And you, son of man, be not afraid of them, nor be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns are with you and you sit on scorpions. Be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, for they are a rebellious house. 7 And you shall speak my words to them, whether they hear or refuse to hear, for they are a rebellious house.
In essence, this passage showed me that my primary concern as a Bible teacher and preacher is to proclaim the message of God regardless of the stubbornness of the people. Ezekiel was called to command the people of God to repent and turn back to the covenant. He was not to listen to the thorns and scorpions they would hit him with by their words.
After reading this I came to realize that I should not be concerned with people's happiness, but their holiness. By having a Word-focused and Word-centered teaching/preaching ministry, while the results may not be immediate I must remain focused on the call to stand in the gap. I am not calling myself a prophet, but I do desire to be used as a vessel in such a way that the words of God are what I say so that the people who hear can know that the Lord has spoken.
Pray for me that I might remain faithful to this calling and to be encouraged despite attack and assault from people who do not desire a message from God. Pray for courage to stand and boldly proclaim and not shrink down in fear of disagreement or offense.