The Commission of Ezekiel to Be the Lord's Prophet.
The Lord, having revealed Himself to His servant in the fullness of His divine power and majesty, now issued to him the formal call, extended to him the formal commission to be His prophet to the rebellious Jews.
v. 1. And He said unto me, Son of man, the name reminding him of the frailty of the human race, but also of the fact that the Lord here addressed him as a man speaks to his friends, stand upon thy feet, and I will speak unto thee.
v. 2. And the spirit entered into me when He spake unto me, with divine power enabling him to stand before the face of God and to receive his commission, and set me upon my feet, that I heard Him that spake unto me, ready to heed and to carry out His commands.
v. 3. And He said unto me, Son of man, I send thee to the children of Israel, the expression here referring to Israel as a nation, not as the Lord's people, to a rebellious nation, on a level with the heathen nations, that hath rebelled against Me; they and their fathers have transgressed against Me, even unto this very day. Those who should have been true sons of him who wrestled and prevailed in faith with God and man had sunk to the level of the heathen world, with its rebellious attitude over against all that was right and good.
v. 4. For they are impudent children, with hard faces, devoid of all shame, and stiff-hearted, without the slightest inclination toward repentance. I do send thee unto them, in spite of this condition of their understanding and of their heart; and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God, Jehovah, the God of the covenant, who here delegated and commissioned Ezekiel to be His personal representative, giving him the very words of the message to the rebellious people.
v. 5. And they, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, no matter what their attitude toward the Lord's proclamation would be, (for they are a rebellious house,) yet shall know that there hath been a prophet among them, this admission being forced from them in spite of their rebellious and insolent behavior.
v. 6. And thou, son of man, a minister of the Lord in spite of his natural frailty, be not afraid of them, with a timidity caused by the insulting impudence of his hearers, neither be afraid of their words, with which they would challenge his authority and ridicule his testimony, though briers and thorns be with thee, namely, in the persons of these refractory, hostile people, and thou dost dwell among scorpions, arachnids, with poisonous stings in their tails, this name being fitly applied to such dangerous persons as would oppose the prophet's labors; be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house. The proof of Ezekiel's divine commission would be exhibited in the fulfillment of his prophecies, and the enemies would thereby be confounded.
v. 7. And thou shalt speak My words unto them, the fact of the divine inspiration of Ezekiel's prophecies being repeated thus with special emphasis, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear; for they are most rebellious.
v. 8. But thou, son of man, by birth and descent a member of this rebellious nation, hear what I say unto thee, Be not thou rebellious like that rebellious house, thereby to become guilty of the same insolent behavior; open thy mouth and eat that I give thee, in a symbolical action which explains itself.
v. 9. And when I looked, behold, an hand was sent unto me, extended toward the prophet; and, lo, a roll of a book was therein, as books were written in those days, the characters inscribed on long strips of parchment, which were then usually rolled up;
v. 10. and He spread it before me, unrolling the parchment strip before his astonished eyes; and it was written within and without, on both sides of the parchment, indicating also a writing of great size; and there was written therein lamentations and mourning and woe, this being the message which the prophet was to set forth, as included in this his book of prophecy. It is doubly hard for a believer to maintain his faith if in the very church-body of which he is a member things occur which have a tendency to offend him deeply; but it is in just such circumstances that faith will be tested.