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How do you speak truth to people who have no interest in hearing it? This was as much a dilemma in the time of Ezekiel as it is today. And the solution was the same then as it is today: We speak with our lives.
Ezekiel was a priest who was taken into exile in Babylon along with many other people of Judah (Ezekiel 1:3). For many years he prophesied to the people in Babylon, giving them messages of both condemnation and hope. The Lord called him to tell the people that they were in Babylon because they had sinned greatly against the Lord—and Ezekiel often used very harsh words and powerful illustrations to make the people listen. There were times, though, when it seemed the only thing people would heed was Ezekiel’s very own life before them.
Perhaps the most moving life-message that Ezekiel gave the people was a warning of the destruction that awaited Jerusalem. The Lord told Ezekiel that his wife, “the delight of [his] eyes,” would soon die—and Ezekiel was not to publicly mourn her death.
Instead, he would only be allowed to grieve within himself. This prophecy foretold how God was about to destroy Jerusalem, the delight of the people’s eyes, and they would not be free to mourn over the city but would waste away inside, reflecting on their own sins.
Only after Ezekiel and his people had been notified of the city’s destruction would Ezekiel be allowed to speak. In terms of people’s hearts, we live in a world that is not all that different from the world of Ezekiel’s day. People’s hearts have been hardened by sin, and their eyes have been blinded to the truth.
The only message that many people will ever willingly accept is the testimony of our lives. What message about God is your life communicating?