"But the house of Israel is not willing to listen to you because they are not willing to listen to me, for the whole house of Israel is hardened and obstinate. But I will make you as unyielding and hardened as they are. I will make your forehead like the hardest stone, harder than flint. Do not be afraid of them or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious house." And he said to me, "Son of man, listen carefully and take to heart all the words I speak to you."
Ezekiel had a very difficult task. God had chosen him to speak His message to the Israelite exiles living in Babylon. He told Ezekiel, even before he began, that the people would not listen to him. How depressing! You are given a mission, but before it starts you are told that it will fail. How many people would accept the mission and be obedient to God's calling? Probably not many.
But Ezekiel did. He spent years as God's messenger with no one taking his message to heart. God did make him as unyielding as the rebellious Israelites.
Today, as Christians, we face a world that is as hardened and obstinate as the Israelites were in Ezekiel's time. When we speak God's message we are called "old-fashioned" and "out-of-date." We are told to keep our beliefs to ourselves because they are not welcome in today's culture.
Of course we are tempted to keep quiet. If no one is listening to us, why should we waste our breath? But we should remember Ezekiel's example. He was faithful to proclaiming God's message. He became "as hardened and obstinate" in proclaiming God's truth as the Israelites were in ignoring it. Take heart!
Dear Lord, Help me not to be afraid to stand firm in following You.