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Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Persistent Purpose of God # 9

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

Ezekiel Was Raised Up In Relation to the Situation

And then the next thing to note: Ezekiel was raised up in relation to the special situation at that time. What we have just read shows that Ezekiel was right there in the situation: "...I was among the captives by the river of Chebar". Ezekiel was not preaching to a situation that was distant from himself. He was not preaching to a situation that he had imagined to exist. He was not preaching to a situation that had been reported to him to exist. He was right in that situation. He was in the closest personal touch with the need. The need was his need; he was put right into the heart of the situation, and his ministry came out of that. He said: "I sat where they sat." And that takes ministry out of the realm of the merely theoretical and puts it into the very practical.

You will notice that this was true of all the prophets. They did not speak to the Lord about the Lord's people as THEY - "They are in this situation; they have done these things; they have these needs." The prophets always spoke to God, "We are in distress." Read the prayer of Nehemiah in chapter one at verse 2-11, and read the prayer of Daniel in chapter nine at verse 3-19. They were a part of the situation. And for you and I to be effective servants, we must be there.

The Word Came Expressly to Ezekiel

And then the third thing: this ministry has to be very personal. You notice what it says in chapter one, verse three: "The Word of the Lord came expressly to Ezekiel the priest." That means two things. Firstly, it means that Ezekiel did not get his ministry out of books. He did not fulfill a second-hand ministry. His ministry was not the result of study. This came to him personally. These visions of God were his own. His message was original and not second-hand. It must be like that. Our ministry must be like that: it must be the result of something that God has said to us personally.

Secondly, the meaning of the Word of the Lord which came expressly to Ezekiel is that there was an urgency about it. You know the meaning of that word, "expressly." You speak about an express train. Well, what do you mean by an express train? One that must get there quickly, it is very urgent. You remember the word of the apostle Paul in First Timothy 4:1, "...the Spirit speaketh expressly" - there is urgency about this! "The Word of the Lord came expressly to Ezekiel." There is something very urgent about this. You have got to get there as soon as you can. There is very serious business on hand. All your energy must be concentrated upon this object. That is how it has got to be with us. There has got to be a tremendous urgency about our message. There are very great issues at stake. I would say to you one thing before you deliver your message. Stop and say to yourselves: "What is God's Mind for His people - because you are going to influence lives, perhaps, for all time and all eternity."

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 10)

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