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Mission impossible

“Son of man,” he said, “I am sending you to the nation of Israel, a nation that is rebelling against me. Their ancestors have rebelled against me from the beginning, and they are still in revolt to this very day.” — Ezekiel 2:3

Mission: Impossible holds a special place in the annals of television drama. Mysterious assignments were handed out at the beginning of each program, and that which was billed as impossible became possible, however improbable, before the weekly installment ended.

Ezekiel’s assignment came to him in a much more dramatic fashion than the way Mission: Impossible’s operators received theirs. He was given a vision of God’s glory that was so overwhelming that he “fell face down in the dust” (Ezekiel 1:28).

In this undignified but perfectly understandable position, Ezekiel was ideally situated to hear from the Lord. It was there, in the posture of awestruck submission, that he was told, “Stand up, son of man… I want to speak with you” (2:1).

The voice, of course, was the voice of God. This was no ordinary voice, and the words spoken were no ordinary words. God’s words contained the very power necessary for obedience to Him. Ezekiel testified, “The Spirit came into me as he spoke and set me on my feet” (2:2).

People today rarely find themselves flat on their faces in reaction to hearing the voice of God. But they do have available to them the written Word of God, which, when read, marked, learned, and inwardly digested, not only commands but empowers for obedience. The Word heeded releases the power needed.

Ezekiel soon discovered he needed the unique empowering of the Spirit working through the Word. Ezekiel was instructed, “I am sending you to the nation of Israel, a nation that is rebelling against me… They are a hard-hearted and stubborn people… They won’t listen, for they are completely rebellious” (2:3-4, 7). The nature of Ezekiel’s mission was essentially that he was to talk to people who would not listen and who, even if they listened, would not do what they were told. Mission impossible!

It might reasonably be asked, “What, then, was the point of sending Ezekiel to them?” God’s rationale for sending him was that “whether they listen or not… at least they will know they have had a prophet among them” (2:5).

The point of them knowing they had been listening to a prophet would not be immediately obvious. But later on when the things he had said came about, they would realize that what they were experiencing was no accident—it was what God had promised. It was exactly what he had determined should come to pass. And, in other words, they would learn that even when things go wrong, God is still in control.

Ezekiel’s mission was impossible, but essentially practical. His message was unmistakable: God is in control, He knows what He is doing, and He will bring it to pass. Just watch!

For further study: Ezekiel 2:1-10

Content taken from The One Year Book of Devotions for Men by Stuart Briscoe. Copyright ©2000. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.