Ezekiel 33:30-32 (NIV)
30 “As for you, son of man, your people are talking together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, saying to each other, ‘Come and hear the message that has come from the Lord.’ 31 My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to hear your words, but they do not put them into practice. Their mouths speak of love, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain.
32 Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice.
So sad at times were the children of God long ago. What’s more, how disappointing believers of the Lord can be today…
We can imagine God’s displeasure with His people at various times. For a righteous man like Ezekiel, it had to be heart wrenching at times as well.
Ezekiel lived during a time of upheaval. He was among the Jews exiled to Babylon in 597 B.C. He was from a priestly family, and therefore was eligible to serve as a prophet-priest to the exiles. He was a man of broad knowledge, not only of his own national traditions, but of international history and affairs.
Obviously, this man was qualified to speak the word and will of God to the people. Yet even with his credentials, the people “listened” to what he said, but they never took his words to heart. God likened it to “singing love songs,” (V.32). Their minds were filled with too much greed and sin, and there was no real desire to follow a Godly life at all.
Again, this must have been very frustrating to God’s prophet! We who write posts today, especially of a spiritual nature, would also be very saddened to know that we were not reaching our readers with our words.
Speaking for myself, I pray almost every day that I might write something which will draw a soul to Christ Jesus…or back to Him. For this is the main work I do for the Lord as a Christian. If I can inspire someone, encourage a soul, comfort a person in need, then I am making a difference with the gift God gave me.
But tragically, there are still many people who have no desire to hear the word of God. Or shall we say they may hear the words of our Lord, but they are not putting them into practice in their daily lives.
This problem is addressed in the New Testament book of James, written by the step-brother of Jesus Christ in about 50-60 A.D. Here, he is admonishing a group made up primarily of Jewish converts to Christianity, but were still holding onto some of their Old Testament laws. He writes about much the same kind of problem Ezekiel had so many years before.
In (James 1:22-24) we find these words:
“22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.”
Again, the message is not to just listen to the word of God, but do what it says! James likens the one who does not practice God’s word to a person who looks at himself in a mirror and then immediately forgets what he looks like.
There are not too many people I know who can’t remember their appearance…unless they are really not mindful of what they have seen. Such people treat the word of God in the same forgetful way.
The point to all of this, from the time of Ezekiel to the writings of James, and up until today is simply this: God revealed His word and will to us for a reason. It was not meant to be just “interesting reading” or taken as “love songs.” He meant for it to be our guide for living this earthly life we have. He wants us to incorporate His teachings into the very core of our being.
My friends, unless we are willing to hear and do the will of God, we are simply wasting our time. We are grieving the Lord our God with such an attitude. It has always been the time to put the Lord’s will ahead of our own, and model our hearts after God’s.
The time to act on the Almighty’s will is now! We need to practice Godly love in order to make a positive change in our lives and in the lives of others. Do not be hearers of the word alone, but do what it says.
May God bless each one who tries to live His will to the best of their ability…
Refs: ~The NIV Study Bible, copyright 1995, Zondervan Publishing~ biblegateway.com ~Google~