“And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions...” Hebrews 11:32-33
As I have been making my way through the bible, the past few weeks my Old Testament readings have been from the book of Ezekiel. And, in reading through this book this time around, the thing that struck me most profoundly was the number of times the Lord asked Ezekiel to either speak or act out a prophetic message, and Ezekiel just did it...no questions asked no matter how ridiculous or far fetched the words or actions the Lord asked him to speak or demonstrate were.
Here is just a small portion from the middle of the book of Ezekiel of some of the commands the Lord gave Ezekiel, that Ezekiel subsequently followed:
“And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 'Son of man, set your face toward Jerusalem, preach against the holy places, and prophesy against the land of Israel; and say to the land of Israel, Thus says the Lord: Behold, I am against you...'” Ezekiel 21:1-3
“Again, in the ninth year, in the tenth month, on the tenth day of the month, the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 'Son of man, write down the name of the day, this very day—the king of Babylon started his siege against Jerusalem this very day. And utter a parable to the rebellious house, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God...'” Ezekiel 24:1-3
“The word of the Lord came to me, saying, 'Son of man, set your face against the Ammonites, and prophesy against them. Say to the Ammonites, Hear the word of the Lord God! Thus says the Lord God...'” Ezekiel 25:1-3
“The word of the Lord came to me again, saying, 'Son of man, say to the prince of Tyre, Thus says the Lord God...'” Ezekiel 28:1-2
“In the tenth year, in the tenth month, on the twelfth day of the month, the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 'Son of man, set your face against Pharaoh king of Egypt, and prophesy against him, and against all Egypt. Speak, and say, Thus says the Lord God...'” Ezekiel 29:1-3
I have to say that reading the book of Ezekiel and concentrating more this time through on his humble obedience over just the proclamations the Lord asked him to make, has really given me some food for thought as I compare the faith life of Ezekiel to my own. In my own life, I have found it easy to get caught up for a time in speaking out for the Lord in a couple of things, but when asked to be a consistent mouthpiece for the Lord, I have learned over this year of blogging that it takes more than an act of my own human will to bring about a fruitful harvest. Instead, I have realized day in and day out that my devotion to the One who supplies and who determines my steps is where that fruit can be produced on an on-going basis. The key is allowing the Lord Himself to complete the plan He has set before me, and for me to not forget or walk away from Him while He is doing it.
“Beware of making a fetish of consistency to your convictions instead of being devoted to God...The once consistency of the saint is not to a principle but to the Divine life. It is the Divine life which continually makes more and more discoveries about the Divine mind. It is easier to be a fanatic than a faithful soul, because there is something amazingly humbling, particularly to our religious conceit, in being loyal to God.” Oswald Chambers
A life of faith, on the most part, does not require a man or woman to do completely radical things once or twice in their lifetime. Instead, faith is a long road which is not only ordered by the Lord but also the only road you will travel on where He will be with you every step of the way. Here are some scriptures that remind us of this fact:
“Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
This year for me, as I have blogged pretty much every day after spending time in prayer and study of God's word, has not just been a time to hone my writing skills, but more so it has been a time each day of learning to be consistently devoted to God, learning how to trust Him when the evidence was not within my sight, learning the things He wanted me to think about each day, learning to keep at the forefront of my mind His promises and love for me, and learning how to use my spiritual gifts and armor to fight the battles each day has presented. As I look back at all the Lord has done this year, I am thankful I was given this test, thankful I didn't try to get out of what looked impossible from my human perspective, and thankful for whatever the road ahead may hold.
It is not easy to look into the future, do what the Lord asks, and not know where the steps you have been asked to take are going to lead you. They may lead you to a wide open place where peace and rest are waiting or they make take you, like to scripture above from Hebrews, to places where God will show you how He can shut the mouths of lions. The key to being consistently faithful is not spending too much time concentrating on the path, but rather spending all of your time concentrating on your path companion – the Lord Jesus – who will order all your steps and never “leave you of forsake you.”