Daily Devotional – Tuesday, June 1, 2021
“Son of man, let all my words sink deep into your own heart first. Listen to them carefully for yourself.” (Ezekiel 3:10, NLT)
Ezekiel was amongst the first group of Judean captives to be taken to Babylon. At the age of thirty, while a captive far from home, God called Ezekiel to speak for Him to the Israelites. He gave him fantastical visions of four-faced and four winged creatures atop wheels that moved at the spirit’s direction; these always faced forward without turning around no matter what direction they were moving at lightning speed. Ezekiel was given tasks to do that made little sense: for instance, he was to build a replica of Jerusalem then lie on his side for an accumulated 430 days—first on his left for 390 days then on his right 40 days. He was given a message from God to share, which God told him ahead of time would be rejected and that he would be hated for.
Ezekiel is not an easy book for modern readers to understand. The events having taken place approximately 2,600 years ago, written in a style that, while popular in its day, leave us somewhat baffled. But something new stood out to me today. Buried amidst the visions, tasks and warnings is God’s instruction for Ezekiel—“Before you share my message with others, take my instruction to heart.” In our world of quick condemnation, judgments and shaming, it is an instruction we should all be taking to heart. Ezekiel was called to share God’s judgment, but was not to do so from a position of superiority. The teacher needed to recognize that he too was a student. The prophecies God was going to give him were as much for him, the prophet, as they were for the rebellious recipients. Before Ezekiel could share God’s warning, he was to first apply it to his own life.
What would happen if we would all do that? If before reacting to others and spouting off our good advice, God’s commandments and biblical correctives, we stopped and considered our own lives alongside the advice and judgment we can be so quick to share. What if we took Jesus’ directions to heart? “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye” (Matthew 7:3-5). Jesus is not telling us that there is never a place and time to correct another who is struggling with sin, as some have assumed. His words to us are the same as God’s were to Ezekiel. Before we share God’s corrective message with another, we must first examine our own lives under the same light. It will make all the difference between being a ‘helper’ and just being a ‘hypocrite.’ God absolutely wants His followers to share with others the truth that we know, but until we have first learned to live it our words will carry no weight. We must let God’s word sink deep into our own hearts first, then we will be able to speak into another’s life—not from a position of superiority, but as someone who has learned to live God’s message.
~ Pastor Jane
First licensed for pastoral ministry in 1994, Pastor Jane Peck has served in camp and church ministries in three denominations, five provinces and in a variety of roles. Her most recent position is that of Pastor at Hope Chapel which she began in 2020. She is excited to see what God can and will do in the days to come!