Called To Fail.
“You must give them my messages whether they listen or not. But they won’t listen, for they are completely rebellious!” – Ezekiel 2:7 NLT
What would you do if God called you to a task that He knew you were going to fail at? What if He even told you your efforts would be fruitless and non-productive? Most of us would bail. We would give up long before we got going. Because we’re wired with one thing in mind – success – and failure is not an acceptable alternative. But when Ezekiel got his marching orders from God, he was also given the not-so-great news that his ministry would be unsuccessful because his audience was going to be unresponsive. God told him, “I am sending you to the nation of Israel, a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me” (Ezekiel 2:3 NLT). But not only were they rebellious, they were stubborn and hard-hearted. God even told Ezekiel to expect threats and animosity. This was going to be one difficult job assignment. God was guaranteeing failure, but demanding obedience. Ezekiel’s success would not be measured by the number of callous, carnal Israelites he converted. His success would be based on his willingness to carry out God’s assignment faithfully, even in the face of rejection, ridicule and no results.
Even the message God gave Ezekiel to share was anything but good news. In his vision, Ezekiel was given a scroll that was covered with writing front and back, from edge to edge. It’s content? “Funeral songs, words of sorrows, and pronouncements of doom” (Ezekiel 2:9b NLT). It was a veritable compendium of bad news. So not only did Ezekiel have a non-responsive audience, he had an unattractive message. But God said, “Do not fear them or their words. Don’t be afraid even though their threats surround you like nettles and briars and stinging scorpions. Do not be dismayed by their dark scowls, even though they are rebels” (Ezekiel 2:6 NLT). God was telling Ezekiel, “don’t be frightened or made fearful by the things they to you, about you, or in reaction to you. Don’t let the looks they give you cause you to doubt and fear. You’re going to get some angry reactions and threatening looks. Don’t let them get to you. Don’t scare you into shutting up or giving up.” God warned Ezekiel to not follow their example and fall into the trap of rebelling just like them by disobeying God’s command and call on his life. Instead, he was to listen, obey and leave the results up to God. Which is what every one of us as Christ-followers have been called to do. We have a calling and it is not an easy one. We are called to live lives that are set apart and distinctive from the world around us. We have been given a message that we are commanded to share with those who are in rebellion against God. And while our message is the Good News of Jesus Christ, not everyone wants to hear it. Most will reject it. We will hear threats, endure ridicule and experience hostility. But we are called to remain faithful and leave the results up to God.
Father, we are called. It is not an easy assignment. In many ways we face potential failure and a non-responsive audience. Help us to be faithful to Your calling, regardless of the results or the response. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men