God EXPECTS us to be FAITHFUL WITNESSES before OTHER PEOPLE
August 26 Bible Reading: Ezekiel Chapters 1-3
"And above the firmament over their heads was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like a sapphire stone; on the likeness of the throne was a likeness with the appearance of a man high above it. Also from the appearance of His waist and upward I saw, as it were, the color of amber with the appearance of fire all around within it; and from the appearance of His waist and downward I saw, as it were, the appearance of fire with brightness all around. Like the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the brightness all around it. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord." (Ezek. 1:26-28)
The prophet Ezekiel had the thankless job of proclaiming God’s message on the crowded and hostile streets of Babylon. In fact, few assignments are more difficult than to proclaim God’s truth to those people who have departed from God, but continue to practice the formalities of religion. These people boast of their tradition and so they tend to resent the message and reject the messenger. While the prophet Jeremiah was warning the citizens of Jerusalem of the coming destruction, Ezekiel was preaching the same message to the Jewish exiles in Babylon.
History records that the prophet Ezekiel faced plenty of rejection from the Jewish exiles in Babylon. These were a hard-hearted group of Jews who would not listen to him just because they were unwilling to listen to God’s Word (3:7). However, God’s mandate to the prophet Ezekiel was that regardless of his listeners’ response, it was his task to proclaim God’s Word and be a faithful witness of God before a corrupt and degenerate group of people. Overall, God addresses Ezekiel almost ninety times, and he was responsible for the faithful proclamation of the messages that God had given him.
It was also Ezekiel’s responsibility to declare the holy character of God and to extol His glory. Ezekiel was to be a faithful witness to all that he saw and heard! Ezekiel thus became a faithful witness of five wonderful attributes of God that include the holiness, transcendence, grace, mercy, and the sovereignty of God. While expounding this passage, the Believer's Study Bible has listed five essential characteristics that mark a good witness of God:
- He/she senses a divine call that provides both commission and authority (1:28–2:8)
- He/she must be saturated with the message of God (2:8–3:3)
- He/she shares the message with others faithfully, and does not receive it solely for personal enjoyment (3:4–11)
- He/she shares the word of God with compassion, identifying with the plight of the hearer (3:12–15)
- He/she understands and accepts the responsibility to warn those who are out of God’s will and to call them to repentance (3:16–21)
The gospel writers and apostles were also faithful witness to record their experiences for future generation as we can see the following verses: "Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us" (Luke 1:1-2). "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life-- the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us-- that which we have seen and heard we declare to you" (1 John 1:1-3)