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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Persistent Purpose of God # 7

God's End Is Always Present in His Beginnings (continued)

A Prophet Represents the Full Mind of God

Now let us look at the prophet himself. You know that Ezekiel did not begin by being a prophet. Ezekiel was a trained priest and not a prophet. You notice verse three of chapter one tells us that. And then at the beginning, verse one refers to "the thirtieth year": "Now it came about in the thirtieth year" - the thirtieth year was most probably the thirtieth birthday of Ezekiel. It was at the age of thirty that the priests finished their training and entered upon their ministry. You remember that it was when the Lord Jesus was thirty years of age that He entered upon His ministry. His preparation was finished and His ministry began. So, at the age of  thirty, Ezekiel ought to have commenced his priestly ministry; but instead of fulfilling his ministry as a priest, he was called to be a prophet. His whole life and training and vocation were changed.

A prophet is one "who represents the full Mind of God when that Mind has been lost." It is impressive to note that Ezekiel had to take up something all together different from that for which he was trained. The situation which existed required that. We shall come back on that again later.

Now when God moves in relation to His full Mind - which has been lost among His people - there are always things essential in the instrument of His movement. And if this is going to be done, it is only God Who can do it! You know the course of men is quite different from that. The way of men is to take men and train them and make them able to do the work, so that when they come out of the college, or the Bible institute, they feel that they are equipped for the work; and now, of course, they can do it. They have been trained for it. However, Ezekiel was not qualified for his work. He was qualified to be a priest, and he was called to be a prophet. And what we find is that all through his life, he never found it easy. You see how difficult Ezekiel found his work: he realized that it was only by the help of God that he could fulfill his ministry.

We all have to begin there if we are really going to minister in heavenly things. There has to be this tremendous change where we come to realize that we cannot do this work of ourselves. Only the Lord can do it. There was this great sense of disappointment with things as they were, the overpowering sense that thins were wrong, and this state of things had to be made the business of Ezekiel's life. You will have to begin there if you are really going to be used of God. You will have to be overwhelmed with the sense that things are all wrong in this world, that things are not as they ought to be, and that you have no ability to put them right. You sense that God has called you to this, and that your ability to do anything must come from God Himself.

That is where we begin with Ezekiel, and, of course, we take the spiritual principles as we go along. I think I need not go back over that ground. There is a breakdown in things, they are not as God intended them to be. God calls men and women in relation to this situation, and the call changes the whole course of their lives. And in the call is the consciousness that they have no ability in themselves to meet the situation. But God, Who has called them, will be their sufficiency. I have read the first three chapters of Ezekiel into what I have just said.

Let us take one little fragment out of these chapters, which is the commission of Ezekiel: "Son of man, I send thee not to a people of a strange language, whose language you do not understand. If I sent you to them, they would listen. But I send you to the house of Israel. They will not hear you" (Ezekiel 3:4-7). That is a difficult commission, and only the Lord could carry a man through that. But then notice what the Lord says as to Divine equipment: "...I have made thy face strong against their faces, and thy forehead strong against their foreheads" (Ezekiel 3:8). In other words, the Lord is going to be the strength of this difficult work.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 8 - "Ezekiel Saw What the Lord Wanted")

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