Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Reaching the Rejected

And he said to me, “Son of man, go to the house of Israel and speak with my words to them. For you are not sent to a people of foreign speech and a hard language, but to the house of Israel—  not to many peoples of foreign speech and a hard language, whose words you cannot understand. Surely, if I sent you to such, they would listen to you. But the house of Israel will not be willing to listen to you, for they are not willing to listen to me: because all the house of Israel have a hard forehead and a stubborn heart. Behold, I have made your face as hard as their faces, and your forehead as hard as their foreheads. Like emery harder than flint have I made your forehead. Fear them not, nor be dismayed at their looks, for they are a rebellious house.” Moreover, he said to me, “Son of man, all my words that I shall speak to you receive in your heart, and hear with your ears. And go to the exiles, to your people, and speak to them and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God,’ whether they hear or refuse to hear.” – Ezekiel 3:4-11 (ESV)

It’s easy to witness and invite those that are like us to church.  It’s easy to talk with those that we can relate to about Jesus Christ and God’s word.  But there comes a time when Jesus asks us to be who He was, Friend of Sinners.  He asks us to offer Him to those that are stubborn, hard to believe, and the ones we would be “dismayed at their looks for they are a rebellious house”.  He asks us to go to those that have been rejected by other churches.  Yes, there are those churches that reject people who are not “churchy”.

But these are the ones Jesus would have gone to first.  He hung out with stinky fishermen (Simon, Peter, Andrew, James, John), and tax collectors (Matthew), which was a profession known to cheat people.  He chose as His closest friends those that others would have shunned.  I wonder how many of those people that wouldn’t sit at the table with these men because of who they were in the world later lived out their lives in regret having discovered who they became in Christ.  I’d personally have loved to sit across from Matthew and hear him tell of his travels with Jesus, or listen to John explain why he felt he was the “beloved” disciple. 

We never know what God will do with a life that’s beat down and looks to be headed down the wrong road.  But we do know that He has said that those that are forgiven of much love Him even more (Luke 7:47).  If you want your church to be revived, to be consumed with the worship of God from hearts filled with love for Him, seek out those who will love much.  Seek out those that have a lot to be forgiven of.  It seems to make sense to me that this is where God gets the greatest glory!

Ezekiel was sent to the house of Israel to deliver God’s message.  God told him in advance that they wouldn’t listen, that they were stubborn and hard hearted.  But what they were like didn’t change Ezekiel’s calling.  He was to GO, and God equipped him to go, saying “I have made your face as hard as their faces, and your forehead as hard as their foreheads. Like emery harder than flint have I made your forehead.” God will equip us to do the work He plans for us.   

Look around you today.  Who has God equipped you to reach?  Who is He showing you that needs Him most?  Isn’t it time we looked at those around us through the eyes of Christ?

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