“As for you, son of man, the children of your people are talking about you beside the walls and in the doors of the houses; and they speak to one another, everyone saying to his brother, 'Please come and hear what the word is that comes from the Lord.' So they come to you as people do, they sit before you as My people, and they hear your words, but they do not do them; for with their mouth they show much love, but their hearts pursue their own gain. Indeed you are to them as a very lovely song of one who has a pleasant voice and can play well on an instrument; for they hear your words, but they do not do them. And when this comes to pass--surely it will come--then they will know that a prophet has been among them” (Ezekiel 33:30-33).
Does God’s Word have an effect on my life? God certainly intends it to. Through the prophet Isaiah, God said, “"For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:10-11).
As we come to the 33rd chapter of the book of Ezekiel, it appears Ezekiel had been ministering to God’s people for over 7 years (cf. Ezekiel 1:2; 33:21). As he prophesied to God’s people who had already been taken captive by the Babylonians, he clearly warned them that Jerusalem was soon to fall to the Babylonians (Ezekiel 4:1-6:14). Yet, did God’s people heed this warning?
At this point in his ministry Ezekiel learns that Jerusalem has been captured by the Babylonians: “And it came to pass in the twelfth year of our captivity, in the tenth month, on the fifth day of the month, that one who had escaped from Jerusalem came to me and said, ‘The city has been captured!’ ” (Ezekiel 33:22). However, notice the reaction of God’s people back in ruins of what was left of the Promised Land. They were saying, “Abraham was only one, and he inherited the land. But we are many; the land has been given to us as a possession” (Ezekiel 33:24). They did not want to accept God’s message and embrace the reality that they had lost their inheritance. Again, God tells them these were the consequences of their abominations (Ezekiel 33:25-29).
In Babylon, God’s people were, likewise, having difficulty in actually listening to God’s message as well. As the opening verses above indicate, God’s people HEARD God’s Word through the prophet Ezekiel, but did not HEED God’s Word. In fact, it appears they ENJOYED listening to what Ezekiel had to say, but they had no desire to APPLY the prophet’s message to their lives. Ezekiel was to them as a “lovely song of one who had a pleasant voice”. With their mouths they would show much love, but their hearts were in selfish pursuit of their own gain (Ezekiel 33:31-32).
I wonder how often I have a heard a sermon or lesson from God’s Word and thought, “What a nice message” and then walked away and failed to apply it to my life. James warns us, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was” (James 2:22-24). It is great when one enjoys hearing God’s Word, but it is essential that one be sure to apply God’s Word to their lives. Today, I will strive to not only hear God’s Word, but also to heed God’s Word!
“But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does” (James 2:25).