I’ve been working my way through the book of Ezekiel. In the opening chapters of this powerful prophetic book the young Ezekiel is sitting by the Chebar Canal when he receives a vision of the Lord in His glory. This is one of those visions in scripture that is almost impossible to fully imagine what Ezekiel tries to describe as he recounts what he saw. Heavenly creatures and Heavenly objects, gleaming metal, the sound of Earthquakes. It’s clearly other worldly. And yet it’s been recorded for our memory and our knowledge.
Ezekiel is told he’ll need to play the role of the prophet and deliver a message to the Jewish exiles living in Babylon. Virtually no prophet had it easy, perhaps that’s part of the reason why Jonah ran from the calling. People don’t generally like prophets because the prophet speaks clearly and truthfully. The prophetic role literally requires as a prerequisite a refusal to get caught up in settling for half-truths, or softening the truth. The prophet speaks God’s Word boldly and clearly for all to hear.
While not every Christian has the spiritual gift of prophecy, every Christian is called to serve as a type of prophet. Every Christian carries God’s Word with us in our heart. That is why James says:
JAMES 1:21 (ESV) — 21 THEREFORE PUT AWAY ALL FILTHINESS AND RAMPANT WICKEDNESS AND RECEIVE WITH MEEKNESS THE IMPLANTED WORD, WHICH IS ABLE TO SAVE YOUR SOULS.
The Word of God has been implanted in us for a purpose. The Christian experiences the joy of living on this side of the cross, where the Word of God is not just spoken through a prophet but indwelt in our very bodies. But with that blessing comes the prophetic responsibility to have a voice of clarity. This does not mean brash untactful truth, as if truth were a hammer meant to swing and to break. Rather, bearing truth means carrying with loving tenderness the very words of God meant to transform souls. Ezekiel reminds us not everyone will listen, but oh what joy for those who do.