STAND UP AND SPEAK THE MASTER’S WORD! - Ezekiel 2

Ma’asei/Acts 26:16-18 “But rise up, and stand on your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you a servant and a witness both of what you saw and of those which I shall reveal to you, 17 delivering you from the people, and the gentiles, to whom I now send you, 18 to open their eyes, to turn them from darkness to light, and the authority of Satan to Elohim, in order for them to receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are set-apart by belief in Me.

These were the words of our Master and Elohim, יהושע Messiah, that He spoke to Sha’ul, when He appeared to him on the way to Dammeseq; and in this account in Ma’asei/Acts, Sha’ul was recounting these events before sovereign Agrippa.

Sha’ul made it clear the urgent commission he had received from the Master; and that was to rise up, stand on his feet and go and witness to the nations, the Besorah of Messiah! As we consider the life of Sha’ul we are continually encouraged by the zeal and urgency with which he went out, in proclaiming the Besorah of our Master; and the example of his life, as well as others in Scripture, ought to stir us to be urgent in our zeal in being bold and courageous in proclaiming the Truth. In a message tonight called, ‘STAND UP AND SPEAK THE MASTER’S WORD!’, I would like us to look at the clear command of our Master and Elohim, given to Yeḥezqěl, which too should cause us to take heed and give ear to the command for us to be a people who shine the light of the Truth and proclaim the Truth with great confidence.

Please turn with me to Yeḥezqěl/Ezekiel 2 and let us hear the Word that stirs a true working faith (Read).

יְחֶזְקֵאל Yeḥezqěl – Strong’s H3168 means, El strengthens, and comes from the two words: 1) חָזַק ḥazaq – Strong’s H2388 and carries the meaning, to grow firm, fasten upon, strengthen, take firm hold of and can have the concept of ‘grasp between your ears, get a firm handle on the matter’ and 2) אֵל el – Strong’s H410 meaning ‘mighty, power or mighty one’ and is also used as a title of יהוה. Yeḥezqěl was certainly commissioned with a great task of calling a rebellious people back to Elohim, and here in this chapter we are able to learn a great deal of how we must be strengthened by Elohim, so that we can be urgent and boldly courageous in our need to call many rebellious and stubborn people back to the Truth!

After having seen a magnificent vision of the heavens that were opened before him, we see in this chapter the clear command that Elohim, who had revealed Himself to Yeḥezqěl, had given him for the task at hand. After seeing the esteem of יהוה, and hearing the voice of יהוה, Yeḥezqěl fell on his face to the ground, and here in chapter 2 we see the word of יהוה being very clear, as Yeḥezqěl was commanded to stand on his feet!

Stand on your feet and I will speak to you!

From this command we can learn a great deal as we begin our journey through this chapter; and we can take a clear lesson from this in answering the question of, ‘how, or when does יהוה speak to us and equip us to do what He has called us to?’. The answer is clear – when we stand on our feet! As already mentioned, these were similar words that were spoken to Sha’ul, and so we need to hear this call to ‘stand on our feet’. This is a clear idiom for obedience! יהוה is basically saying that He will speak to us when we are standing on our feet! From a Hebraic perspective this carries the need to be totally obedient to the commands of Elohim, with one’s ear totally attentive to hearing the Master’s voice! To stand on your feet implies a readiness to do what is instructed, as well as being completely submitted to the commands of the Chief. The Hebrew word for ‘stand’ is עָמַד amaḏ – Strong’s H5975 which carries the meaning, to take one’s stand, present oneself, abide, appoint, arise, stay, be steadfast, remain, be or become a servant’. In Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah 7:2 we see how Yirmeyahu was to ‘Stand in the gate of the House of יהוה, and proclaim the Word of יהוה to all who were entering the gates to bow down to יהוה’. Yirmeyahu was not just told to stand up but rather, more firmly, he was told to take a stand and be steadfast in standing up to speak the Word of Elohim, as he was to confidently take a stand against the hypocrisy of false worship, and ‘proclaim’ the Word of יהוה. Stand up and speak up – this was what Yirmeyahu was told to do – and as we look at his life we can see that while he was repeatedly told to do this, he was not well received; and in fact was more often than not hated for the words he had to stand up and speak to a wicked generation. The same was true for Yeḥezqěl – stand up and speak! Be a steadfast servant of the Word! In Hebrew the word for ‘feet’ is רֶגֶל regelStrong’s H7272 and means ‘a foot/feet or to walk, and speaks of one’s obedience to walking according to the commands of Elohim and obeying His call to keep His feasts as commanded, as we take note that this word is also translated as ‘times’ in:

Shemoth/Exodus 23:14 “Three times in the year you are to observe a festival to Me.

To stand on one’s feet can give a clear reference to walking wholeheartedly in the commands of Elohim, and guarding His Sabbaths and Feasts! The Greek word used here in the LXX (Septuagint – Greek translation of the Tanak) for ‘stand’ is ἵστημι histēmi – Strong’s G2476 which means, to make to stand, to stand firm, be established, stand upright, stand ready and prepared, be of a steadfast mind, to uphold and sustain the authority of something, and is also the word used in Eph’siyim/Ephesians 6 where we are told to ‘stand’ firm in the armour of Elohim; and so we can clearly see that this ‘standing’ is an equipped standing, in that the required dress code (that of righteousness – which is to guard to do all the commands) is adhered to and is functional, in us being a faithful set-apart priesthood that is able, as good stewards with that which He has given us, to stand before our High Priest and King – יהושע Messiah!

In verse 1 we see this verb עָמַד amaḏ being used in the ‘qal’ tense, showing us the clear command to stand; and in verse 2 the verb עָמַד amaḏ is written in the ‘hiphil’ tense (which is the causative action of the ‘qal’ tense) and is translated as ‘set’. What is very clear here is that when we obey to the commands of Elohim and respond to His call to stand and be girded with the Truth, it is the Spirit of Elohim that actually causes us to stand. As Yeḥezqěl listened to the Spirit, he was set on his feet, and here we see how ‘belief comes by hearing the Word’, as Yeḥezqěl’s belief was an active belief, as he heard the Spirit of Elohim speaking to him. Notice the sequence here - יהוה firstly told Yeḥezqěl to stand on his feet and then He caused Yeḥezqěl to stand by His power – for it is the power of the Spirit of Elohim that ‘happens upon’ the obedient! Being set firmly on his feet, Yeḥezqěl heard the One who was speaking to him! By being obedient to the command to stand, a true believer can and will hear the voice of Elohim, as His Spirit teaches us and directs us in the Way, according to His Word! Yeḥezqěl was being commanded here to go and speak to a rebellious people, and this is no easy task; and the key to doing it as we should, is to do it according to the Word and see how the Spirit equips our ability to stand firm, as we obey without compromise! With this command to stand on his feet there was an expected service, just like a soldier receiving orders from his commanding officer. We who are commanded to STAND on our FEET, and stand, stand  and stand, are to do so in reverent awe of Elohim, and with great courage as a faithful soldier of our Master and Elohim, יהוה of Hosts!

In our ability to properly stand, we need to give ear to the Truth, and here in verse 2 we see that Yeḥezqěl says that he ‘heard’ Him who was speaking! The Hebrew word for ‘heard’ is שָׁמַעshama’ – Strong’s H8085, which carries the meaning not just simply to hear, but rather to ‘listen with attention, comprehend and discern, give heed to what is being spoken’. So when we hear the words, ‘he who has ears let him hear what the Spirit says’, we are able to clearly see that it is only those who are truly standing on their feet (that is those who are faithfully obeying and walking in the commands) that will have ears to hear. Any disobedience to the commands or any rejection to walking according to the Torah of Elohim will result in one being deaf to the Spirit, and so be unable to be led forth in the Truth!

Those who have ears, as they stand firm on their feet, will hear the clear instructions and guard to do them. In verse 3 we see the clear commission given to Yeḥezqěl, the one who is strengthened by Elohim! יהוה told this prophet that He was sending him to the children of Yisra’ĕl, that is to a nation of rebels that have rebelled against Elohim! The Hebrew root word translated as ‘sending’ is שָׁלַח   shalaḥ - Strong’s H7971 – ‘to send, dispatch’, and in the LXX (Septuagint), which is the Greek translation of the Tanak (O.T.), the Greek word used is a construct from the word ἀποστέλλω  apostellō – Strong’s G649 which means, to send forth, set-apart and send out (on a mission), ordered to go to a place appointed, send away, and is a technical term for the sending of a messenger with a special task. With this command given to Yeḥezqěl as, ‘Son of Man, I am sending you to the children of Yisra’ĕl…’, we are able to see a clear prophetic shadow picture of our Master and Elohim, יהושע Messiah, who was sent for the lost sheep of Yisra’ĕl!

Mattithyahu/Matthew 15:24 “And He answering, said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Yisra’ĕl.

As His body, we too must recognise our mission – and that is to go stand up and speak the Master’s Word to the lost and rebellious Yisra’ĕl! Yeḥezqěl was given this command around 130 years after the northern 10 tribes of the House of Yisra’ĕl had been exiled into Ashshurian captivity and scattered over the face of the earth, and he was being sent to speak to the children of Yisra’ĕl, who by now had become nations of rebels who were so mixed with the world! The Hebrew word here for ‘nations’ is גֹּויִם – ‘go’yim’ – from the word גּוֹי goy – Strong’s H1471 meaning, nation, people, gentiles’. They were now a ‘wild olive branch’ in nature, having lost their natural identity as a people who are called out as a set-apart nation due to rebellion; and here Yeḥezqěl is sent to speak to them and call them back. This is our call today, as a faithful body that stands in the Master!

Go and speak to rebels who have rebelled! A very daunting task indeed, yet a task that was to be obeyed – as task that is still to be obeyed by an obedient priesthood that finds their strength in Elohim! The term ‘rebels’ or ‘rebellious’ is used 7 times in this chapter, which clearly expresses what is being addressed here. Two Hebrew words are used: the first Hebrew root word that is used twice in describing nation of rebels that have rebelled in verse 2, is מָרַד maraḏ – Strong’s H4775 which means, be rebellious, to rebel, revolt, which in the context of a broken covenant refers to this rebellious nation’s rebellion against The Living Elohim, as their rebellion is directed against the authority of the Word of Elohim, and the need to walk in obedience to it, as a called out and covenanted people. The second Hebrew word that is used 5 times in this chapter(verses 5, 6, 7, and 8x2) for ‘rebelliousis מְרִי meri – Strong’s H4805 which means, rebels, rebellious, bitter and comes from the primitive root מָרָה marah – Strong’s H4784 which means, to be contentious or rebellious, to be disobedient’. The warning against being rebellious is clearly spoken all throughout Scripture, and when one does not listen up and obey TODAY, bitterness grows and the heart becomes more and more hardened to hearing the Truth – to the point where the heart becomes a slippery slope where the Word does not even get planted any longer, and is sadly brushed off as irrelevant – to the point where compromised hearing and doing leads to total rebellion and lawlessness, leaving only a degenerate, rather than a fruitful vine – which is thrown into the fire!

Iḇ’rim/Hebrew 3:7-8 “Therefore, as the Set-apart Spirit says, “Today, if you hear His voice, 8 do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, in the day of trial in the wilderness”

Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 3:13 “but encourage one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened by the deceivableness of sin. 

Rebellion leads to a hardness of heart and being stiff-necked toward proper submission and obedience to the Truth.

Shemuʼěl Aleph/1 Samuel 15:23 “For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and stubbornness is as wickedness and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of יהוה, He also does reject you as sovereign.

In Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 18:10 we are clearly told that no one who practices divination should be found among us; and to rebel against the commands of Elohim is as divination or witchcraft

Mishlĕ/Proverbs 17:11 “An evil one seeks only rebellion, so a cruel messenger is sent against him.

The evil, that is the dysfunctional, seek only rebellion! As previously discussed, we understand from Scripture that the clear difference between good and evil is complete obedience verses disobedience; or better understood as that which functions correctly in accordance to the perfect design and will of our Creator, and is good, versus that which does not, and is therefore dysfunctional or evil! Those who have no regard for walking in the and guarding the Torah of Elohim, will seek only rebellion and not the Truth! They will rather seek out traditions that will tickle their ears that leads them astray, instead of seeking יהוה and meditate upon His Torah! Rebellious people are those who refuse to hear, guard and do the Torah, as we see in that which Yeshayahu was told to go and speak to the stubborn and rebellious children:

Yeshayahu/Isaiah 30:8-10 “And go, write it before them on a tablet, and inscribe it on a scroll, that it is for a latter day, a witness forever: 9 that this is a rebellious people, lying children, children who refuse to hear the Torah of יהוה, 10 who say to the seers, “Do not see,” and to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us what is right. Speak to us what is smooth, prophesy deceits.

It is clear – the rebellious are lying children who refuse to hear the Torah of יהוה, and by hearing I mean hearing and doing!

Yeḥezqěl was now told to go and speak to people who refuse to hear, and in verse 4 he is clearly told that they are ‘stiff of face’ and ‘hard of heart’. All through Scripture we can clearly see the intensity of the great love that יהוה has for His Covenanted people, as He continually sends His messengers to tell her (the rebellious Yisra’ĕl) that if she just gets rid of the rebellious attitude, she can return!

Stiff-faced and hard-hearted – not the easiest of people to go and call back! And it is no different for us today, as we too have been commissioned to go and speak to a stiff-faced and hard-hearted people, who refuse to hear the Truth!

To be ‘stiff-faced’ speaks of being callous to one’s shame, so much so that you do not even blush for your erroneous ways.

Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah 6:15 “Were they ashamed when they had done abomination? No! They were not at all ashamed, nor did they know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall. They shall stumble at the time I visit them,” said יהוה.

Having a stiff face implies that the rebellious one does not even consider the error of his/her ways, as they become callous toward their guilt. Sha’ul reminds us that we should no longer walk as the nations walk, and described them in:

Eph’siyim/Ephesians 4:19 “who, having become callous, have given themselves up to indecency, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

The Greek word used here for ‘callous’ is ἀπαλγέω apalgeō – Strong’s G524 which means, to cease to feel pain, become callous, to be past feeling, to grow or become insensible. This is the word from which the English “analgesic” is derived, meaning, ‘that which takes away pain’. In other words those who rebel against the Torah become so calloused that they go beyond feeling any guilt for their rebellion and are hooked on their rebellion that becomes an analgesic to them, keeping them from feeling any hurt or pain for rebelling against the Most High!

To be hard of heart is also a term that describes a bitter rebellion against the Truth. The Hebrew word translated as ‘hard’ is the adjective חָזָק ḥazaq – Strong’s H2389 which means, strong, stout, mighty, hard, stubborn’, and while the root of this word can certainly teach us how to be strong in the master, we can also see the negative side of this word that describes those who become hard and strong against the Truth. So stubborn that they will not move!

Once again, as we consider the state of the hearts of this rebellious nation that Yeḥezqěl was called to speak to, we are able to identify with the daunting task that we, as a set-apart and royal priesthood, have at hand!

In verse 5 Yeḥezqěl is basically told that there is no guarantee that anyone will listen, and this should not be a deterrent, as he was to go and do what was commanded – and that was to stand up and speak the Master’s Word! Just speak the Truth is the clear lesson we must take from this – just stand up and speak the Truth – even if no one will listen – just speak the Truth! For when you do, the rebellious will know that a prophet has been in their midst! The role of a prophet of Elohim was always to call people back to the Truth and call people back to walking in the Torah, and point them back to the narrow path! With the call to return, there also comes a severe warning against disobedience to the call to return, and therefore it is clear that a prophet’s words may not always be welcomed by a rebellious people, as their response to the Truth may not be a positive one! We are to have our behaviour among the nations as good, and always be ready to speak the Truth, no matter the possible response of rejection and ridicule!

 

Kěpha Aleph/1 Peter 2:11-12 “Beloved ones, I appeal to you as sojourners and pilgrims, to abstain from fleshly lusts which battle against the life, 12 having your behaviour among the gentiles good so that when they speak against you as evil-doers, let them, by observing your good works, esteem Elohim in a day of visitation.

Kěpha Aleph/1 Peter 3:15-16 “But set apart יהוה Elohim in your hearts, and always be ready to give an answer to everyone asking you a reason concerning the expectation that is in you, with meekness and fear, 16 having a good conscience, so that when they speak against you as doers of evil, those who falsely accuse your good behaviour in Messiah, shall be ashamed.

Why will people speak against you as an evil doer if your are tickling their ears? What Kěpha is reminding us of here, is that we are to be bold in our proclaiming of the Truth! Those who rebel against the words of the Master that we speak shall one day know that they were told!

In verse 6 we learn how we must be encouraged, as Yeḥezqěl was, to not be afraid of those we are called to speak to. Do not be afraid of the rebellious, stiff of face and hard of heart people! Do not be afraid of the words of rebellious man!

Mattithyahu/Matthew 10:28 “And do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the being. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both being and body in Gehenna.

I think that one of the biggest stumbling blocks many face when considering how to speak to a rebellious people, is the excepted response and the fear of their rejection of what we are to be proclaiming, and this should not be so!

Do not be afraid of people and their word and actions, nor be discouraged by them! The Hebrew word translated as ‘discouraged’ is חָתַת ḥathath – Strong’s H2865 which means, to be shattered, dismayed, broken into pieces, abolished, afraid, break down or be scared. Yehoshua was also told not to be discouraged in Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 31:8, and this word can also carry the meaning, to be prostrate or lie down; and so what we can see and learn here in this instruction which carries extreme importance for us to heed, is that we are not to fall on our faces when our enemies (even loved ones or family members who do not walk Torah) come against us! When most are unable to see a ‘way out’ or when the whole world is bowing down to the ways of the world, or even to the stubbornness and wickedness of their own hearts, in following what seems to make sense to them, we must not bow down and follow in bowing to their demands for lawlessness; and we must not give in to any ‘cuteness or crying’ as a means to manipulate us into falling for their ways and bowing to their requests that lead away from obedience to the Torah. Do not be afraid of being ‘broken down’ or ‘shattered into pieces’ by those who speak a false accusation and slander against you for doing the Truth – stand on your feet and speak the Master’s Word – for Elohim is with you!

In verse 6 we are also given the encouragement to not be discouraged by the many thorns and thistles that are with us, as we dwell among scorpions! The Hebrew words used here for thistles and thorns are only used here in Scripture and both speak of briers or thornbushes of some sort, which pictures for us a very thorny bush that is difficult to move through, and metaphorically can picture that which is dubious, which is that which can give rise to uncertainty and create doubt! What we must learn from this is clear – do not get discouraged by the many thorns and thistles that are around you! In other words, do not get distracted by those things that can give rise to doubt and uncertainty. Practically this can picture for us various theologies or misguided teachings that can causes one to doubt the Truth and become uncertain! We must recognise that there are many thorns and thistles out there, and it often seems difficult to move through these things, as its purpose is to simply hinder our walk of complete obedience. We have seen how some who begin to walk in the Torah become easily pierced through with teachings that cause an uncertainty to the Truth has been taught to them! Rabbinically influenced teachings can also be a form of thistles and thorns that cause doubt and uncertainty to the Truth, and what we need to be soberly reminded of is our need to stick to Scripture and not add or take away from the commands of Elohim!

Thorns and thistles are things that can pierce the skin, which also can picture for us the very things that can ‘tear our garments of set-apartness – those very things that can easily cause one to become uncertain and compromise the called for set-apartness! Do not be afraid of those who ‘get under your skin’ so to speak! We dwell among scorpions and scorpions can be extremely dangerous, and cause severe damage, even death! Do not be afraid – stand on your feet and speak the Master’s Word – whether people will listen or not! Speak, speak and speak! When Sha’ul teaches us in Eph’siyim/Ephesians to stand, stand and stand, he was teaching us this very principle of standing on our feet and speaking the Truth without fear or discouragement!

In verse 8 יהוה makes it very clear to Yeḥezqěl that he must hear what is being spoken by Elohim and not be rebellious like the rest of the rebellious house! The way we are able to guard ourselves against rebellion is to ‘HEAR’ – that is to listen attentively to the Word of יהוה, and GUARD to DO His commands, so as to not be rebellious!

Yeḥezqěl is told to open his mouth and eat as he is severely warned against being rebellious; and herein lies the clear truth – eat the Word, for it is our daily Bread – that which nourishes and equips us to stand up and speak! If we are not ‘eating’ the Word on a daily basis, we will not be able to stand on our feet and speak that which we should, and when we are not speaking, we are being as rebellious as the rest!

The command to not be rebellious is a severe warning against our natural weakness and tendency to shrink away from conflict an confrontation! Do not lower yourself to the level of rebellion, because of fear… be bold and be strong – stand on your feet and speak the Master’s word! This can only be done if your diet is good! Are you eating the Word as you should? Are you taking in a diet of ‘solid food’ each day, and not still sucking on the milk of the Word (Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 5:14) ? Are you able to encourage others by sound teaching (Titos/Titus 1:9)? Are you equipped in the Truth?

Timotiyos Bět/2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is breathed by Elohim and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for setting straight, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of Elohim might be fitted, equipped for every good work.

 Yeḥezqěl was told to eat, and so we are also able to see how Yirmeyahu had a similar experience:

Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah 15:16 “Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart. For Your Name is called on me, O יהוה Elohim of hosts.

Is the Word of יהוה to you the joy and rejoicing of your heart? If it is not then you are not equipped to speak as one standing on your feet! When we are eating the Good Word of Elohim and growing in our maturity through complete obedience, then the Master יהוה can entrust His Word into our hands, as His Spirit equips us to do as we should!

His Word of lamentations and woe can only be entrusted to the faithful ‘eaters’ and ‘doers’ of His Word! Those who are unable to deliver the very clear lamentations and woes for rebellion are clearly not eating as they should! What is worth taking note of here is that the scroll that Yeḥezqěl was given to eat, was written on both sides! This was contrary to the typical manner in which scrolls were written, as they generally were only written on one side. However we are able to see a clear picture that is seen in bringing a message of warning. This scroll being written on both sides is similar to the scroll that we see in Zeḵaryah/Zechariah 5, which too is a severe warning against the lawlessness that is being taught. We also see in Ḥazon/Revelation 5 that the scroll that was in the Hand of Him who sat on the Throne was written on both sides; and this was the scroll that contained the severe judgements that have been sealed up until the end, when our the Lamb will open it and send forth His warnings! In Scripture we find that this picture of a scroll being written on both sides is typically representative of a message of woe, that can only be delivered by the mature and faithful, who stand on their feet and speak up, without being discouraged!

As the body of our Master and Elohim,  יהושע Messiah, may we hear this clear call to be faithful to the task of delivering the Truth without compromise or fear of discouragement from a rebellious people who may not listen – unto whom we have been sent!

In hearing this call to stand on your feet and speak – how are you doing? Have you been standing firm in the Master, dressed in the armour of Light – that is His Torah; and boldly proclaiming the Truth to a deaf and rebellious people? Or have you buckled under the pressure of ridicule and discouraging words, so much so that you have been silent due to the thorns of uncertainty that you have allowed to pierce your walk of set-apartness!

As we consider the times we are living in, I want you to carefully consider and give heed to this chapter 2 in Yeḥezqěl/Ezekiel, and realise that this Word is very much alive to each and every one of us who has been redeemed and delivered from rebellion! The commission of our Master and Elohim is clear to us all – eat, stand on your feet and speak the Master’s Word and do not be afraid or discouraged of what man can do to you! If you have been rebellious by not standing on your feet and speaking boldly as you should, then hear this call to do so, with urgency. This call to speak the Truth, along with the very severe lamentations and woes, will not be readily received or welcomed, yet take courage and be strong, for our Master and Elohim is with us, and as we HEAR, GUARD and DO His Word, His Spirit sets us on our feet!

Hear then this call given to the strengthened ones of יהוה:

STAND UP AND SPEAK THE MASTER’S WORD!

יהוה bless you and guard you; יהוה make His face shine upon you and show you favour; יהוה lift up His face to you and give you Shalom!