“Then He said to me, “Son of man, I am sending you to the sons of Israel, to a rebellious people who have rebelled against Me; they and their fathers have transgressed against Me to this very day. I am sending you to them who are stubborn and obstinate children, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God.’ As for them, whether they listen or not—for they are a rebellious house—they will know that a prophet has been among them.” — Ezekiel 2:3-5 (NASB)

In my life, I can think of a few hard tasks I have been asked to do. There was one that was particularly difficult. Years ago, I had to speak to an older relative rather harshly as his mother was dying and he had refused to see her. I had first tried to appeal to him on the basis of God’s love and grace.

That was difficult, but a harder task than that was given to the prophet Ezekiel. When God called him, He said “Son of man, I am sending you to the sons of Israel, to a rebellious people who have rebelled against Me… I am sending you to them who are stubborn and obstinate…”

Ouch! If we were Ezekiel, I can just imagine our reaction. “But why send me to such? It’s hopeless, Lord!”

Then Ezekiel was told more. “…yet the house of Israel will not be willing to listen to you, since they are not willing to listen to Me….”

It is one thing to speak to people who are stubborn and obstinate, but it is another when you know they will not listen. Isn’t it a waste of time, we might ask?

During the recent Chinese New Year celebrations, I visited relatives whom I knew are resistant toward God. But yet God’s Word reminds me that I am to witness to them. Yes, I try to do that through my life. But speak to them? It is not easy, Lord. They have ridiculed me.

But hard as it was, the Lord enabled me to turn conversations round to where I could share God’s love to them.

Notice the responsibility of Ezekiel to the hard task of speaking to the stubborn house of Israel, “…to say to them whether they listen or not…I have sent you to them who should listen to you.”

His responsibility was to tell them. It was because they should listen. Nothing was mentioned of their response. That was up to the people themselves.

It often frustrates me that when I share, my relatives or friends do not respond. But God reminds me that the response is not my responsibility. Mine is to share. Theirs is to respond.

Years ago when I had to speak harshly to that older relative, the Lord went before me. The relative responded and came and saw his mother. She was so happy that even in a comatose state, she uttered sounds of joy.

Like me, if you have found evangelism to be a hard task, ask God for courage to speak up for Him. Don’t put their positive response as the basis for you sharing the good news. Know that your responsibility is what matters most.

As you finish this reading, is there someone you can think of, with whom you should undertake this hard task of telling about Jesus?

 


Thought For The Week (TFTW) is contributed by Dr Koh Siang Kiang, Associate Professor (Christian Education) at the Singapore Bible College (SBC). She graduated from SBC and Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS), USA, and has served in various ministries for more than 35 years, including teaching at DTS. Dr Koh has been with SBC for the last 10 years, and has a passion for people and teaching the Word of God. She also loves to make the Bible come alive by leading tours to the Holy Land, and has led 12 such trips. To help her relax, Dr Koh likes to cook and cross-stitch.