EZE 33:30 "As for you, son of man, your countrymen are talking together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, saying to each other, `Come and hear the message that has come from the LORD.' [31] My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to listen to your words, but they do not put them into practice. With their mouths they express devotion, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. [32] Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice.

EZE 33:33 "When all this comes true--and it surely will--then they will know that a prophet has been among them."

I have read this piece of scripture several times from Ezekiel and understand where the prophet was coming from and perhaps even how he might have felt during this time in his life. Much of what he had said had perhaps been listened to very much like one might listen to a flute playing its melody. But they would walk away after listening to the words and return to their everyday lives. For these were just words; just words. Surely, these words were not meant to be put into practice! They were to be listened to, and that was all.

I'm certain that there were times when they would rather not have listened to the scathing pronouncements that could befall them. I'm certain that the priests of the time would rather not have heard about their sins that he was referring to as he prophesied to them. Why should they? Weren't they entrusted with the law of Moses, and weren't they commissioned to carry out these ordinances and rules on behalf of God for the people? Surely, this madman didn't know what he was talking about! If he would have something pleasant to say to them then they might listen. If his message was minced with words of comfort and encouragement then surely, his message was from Yahweh. I'm certain that many of the prophets of that day went through times when they wondered why they were to continue speaking on behalf of God when very few indeed, paid attention to their message. But this was their commission, and this was their assignment.

Lately I have been going through some of the same types of feelings. Particularly when many would rather hear the sweet flavor of words of comfort and edification, rather than the words that might speak of things to come, and might even continue to warn us about the impending dangers that may befall us. I believe this is even true of some of us who are in places of leadership. We want so desperately to guard the sheep and not allow anything that is beyond our repertoire. We want "safe prophecies." We want them so safe though, that we may well miss some of Gods' truth and plan for us however. Much of this I understand, and it probably is a human tendency to want to focus only on pleasantries. Don't misunderstand me here, for I'm certainly not playing the martyr, nor am I in a state of frustration or even of disillusionment over these things. I'm merely sharing my heart here and drawing a parallel with the above words from Ezekiel.

I want those who hear the words of any prophet or seer, to surely test them, as the Bereans did, and were commended for it. However, let's not throw the baby out with the bath water. I truly believe that we are approaching some days ahead that we need to be in preparation for. Otherwise God would not continue to speak forth these types of messages of warning of future events and plans. Yes, there is a balance to be sought amongst the varied types of messages we are hearing in this hour. There will continue to be words of comfort. There will continue to be words of judgment and warning as well. Let us seek a balance between the two and test both to see if indeed they come from God. Remember these words from Jeremiah:

JER 1:9 Then the LORD reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, "Now, I have put my words in your mouth. [10] See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant."

Remember that prophets are called upon to "uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, as well as 'building and planting,' Some things need to be changed before true growth occurs, otherwise are present track that we are moving in will remain the same and judgment will come into our lives as well.


Stephen Hanson