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But no matter what level of Faith we’re at, we had all better think carefully about the costs of being in God’s Service. Are we so wholeheartedly devoted to God we would go on such a severe diet for Him, and bake our daily bread over cow poop?? Would we be willing to Serve like Ezekiel Served??


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Hello Readers, hope all’s well. Time for another End Times post.

We all want God to use us for big, dramatic deeds done in His Service. We all pray for this to varying extents. This is especially true the further we get into the End Times, and Evangelism becomes ever more important each day. Time is running out for people to turn to Jesus … so time is running out for God to use us in a big, dramatic Evangelism campaign with a big impact.

But wait!! Hold on a minute!! We all pray for God to use us in His Service, but let’s think about what that involves. God’s Service is tough on people, so tough it pushes us to our very limits. Look at how tough God’s Service was on Moses, for example. I feel bad for him when I read through his part of the Bible. He was a man under a lot of stress, all the time.

For another example, today we will look at Ezekiel 4. In this chapter we see God’s Service can sometimes be humiliating, painful, and even disgusting.

The point is, we’d better think carefully when we pray for God to use us for big deeds in His service. We may end up getting what we asked for, but it won’t be what we expected ….

Your Orders Are to Act Completely Insane

As I said, we’re looking at Ezekiel 4 today. Ezekiel is an interesting prophet with a unique story among the prophets. We don’t know if Ezekiel ever prayed for God to use him in God’s Service; if he did it would have been before the Book of Ezekiel starts. In any case, when God told Ezekiel to serve by being a prophet, Ezekiel obeyed despite all the hardships involved. And Ezekiel’s service for God was very tough on.

Ezekiel’s service for God was tough on him for 3 reasons. His Service was:

1) Humiliating (had to look like a madman)

2) Painful (had to lay on his side more than one year; unable to move)

3) Disgusting!! (had to eat food cooked over cow poop)

Let’s read Ezekiel 4 and look at what was asked of this man.

Humiliation

First, God tells Ezekiel to act like a madman. Being a grown adult, he was ordered to basically play war like a little kid on the ground outside Jerusalem. He was supposed to draw Jerusalem on a brick, and set it under siege. Ramps, army camps, battering rams, he had to add all these elements. All while being a grown adult man, lying on the ground too. I bet Ezekiel was adding in his own sound effects too.

How embarrassing, to have to put on a display like this. The LORD ordered Ezekiel to act like a madman.

(1) You, human one, take a brick. Put it in front of you and draw the city of Jerusalem on it. (2) Prepare the siege: Build a wall, construct ramps, set up army camps, and place battering rams all around. (3) Take an iron plate and set it up as an iron wall between you and the city. Face it directly. When it is under siege like this, press hard against it. This is a sign for the house of Israel.

Ezekiel 4:1-3 (CEB)

Anyone who saw this would have been shocked at this display. But that’s the point actually: They would have been so shocked, they definitely would take notice of it. Ezekiel would have every passer-by’s attention, at least for a little bit. The LORD knew ordering Ezekiel to humiliate himself would get people’s attention, and get His message across.

Pain

The second hardship Ezekiel had to endure in God’s Service was pain. Ezekiel had to lay one his left side for 390 days, and his right side for 40 days. That’s 430 days total, lying on the ground on one side. And the LORD bound Ezekiel so that he couldn’t move during this time. Even if the man wanted to give up on Serving God in this way, he was no longer able to.

Lying on the ground for over a year, unable to move … ouch. That wouldn’t be pleasant.

(4) Now, lie on your left side, and set the guilt of the house of Israel on it. For the length of time that you lie on your side, you will bear their punishment. (5) I appoint to you three hundred ninety days, one day for each year of their guilt. So you will bear the punishment of the house of Israel. (6) When you have completed these days, lie on your right side to bear the guilt of the house of Judah. I appoint forty days to you, one day for each year. […] (8) I’ve now bound you with cords so that you can’t turn from one side to the other until you have completed the days of your siege.

Ezekiel 4:4-6, 8 (CEB)

Disgusting

The last detail about Ezekiel’s Service to God was that it was disgusting. In verse 10 God puts Ezekiel on an extremely strict diet, not one your doctor would recommend. But the LORD told Ezekiel to eat this food like barley bread and bake it on human excrement while everyone watches. Presumably this humiliating and disgusting act was meant to get everyone’s attention, again. Well it would have gotten lots of attention and reactions!!

(10) At fixed times you will eat your food by weight, fourteen ounces a day. (11) You will also ration your water by measure, drinking a sixth of a hin at fixed times each day. (12) Eat it like barley bread, and bake it on human excrement while they watch.

Ezekiel’s response to this was the natural, sane human response. Ezekiel’s response was exactly what you or I or anybody would have said. Ezekiel said “No, LORD, don’t make me do that!!”

In other words, he complained to God about his orders. Usually the LORD doesn’t tolerate this, but in this case He relented. The LORD told Ezekiel, “OK, I’ll be nice. You can bake the food over cow poop instead.”

(14) And I said: “Ah, LORD God! I’ve never been unclean! From my childhood until now I’ve never eaten anything that wasn’t properly slaughtered, and no unclean meat has ever entered my mouth!”

(15) He answered me: “Then I’ll let you use cow dung instead of human excrement. You can make your bread over that.”

Ezekiel 4:14-15 (CEB)

Ezekiel still had to eat food baked over poop, while everyone watched. The LORD wouldn’t let Ezekiel get out of that part. But at least it wasn’t going to be human poop anymore. This was a not-insignificant improvement.

Consider the Costs Carefully

Ezekiel was obedient and did everything God asked of him. He didn’t do it without complaining to God though, as we see in his protest against baking food over human poop. Still, he lay on the ground more than a year playing make-believe siege of Jerusalem while eating a painfully austere diet, baked over cow poop.

Maybe some of You out there are obedient enough to do everything God asks of You, when He asks. Some of You are even willing to go to extreme lengths like these in Ezekiel 4. To be honest, I’m not at this level; I couldn’t do this. But if You, out there, if You have this kind of Faith and obedience, then that’s excellent. That’s amazing.

But no matter what level of Faith we’re at, we had all better think carefully about the costs of being in God’s Service. Are we so wholeheartedly devoted to God we would go on such a severe diet for Him, and bake our daily bread over cow poop?? Would we be willing to Serve like Ezekiel Served??

It’s just something to think about, Reader. We all pray for God to use us for big things, but are we ready to receive what we’re praying for?? We all need to be careful what we pray for, and never pray recklessly ….

For more on this topic, how we need to be careful what we pray for, stay tuned for the next post which is Part 2 of 2.

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Until next time, be strong and do good!

Your new best friend in Christ,

99:9

<<<EXALT THE LORD OUR GOD AND WORSHIP AT HIS HOLY HILL; FOR THE LORD OUR GOD IS HOLY>>>


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One comment on “Do Not Fear the End Times Part 124: Be Careful what You Pray for (Part 1 of 2)

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