2017-07-19 / Religion

‘Bloom where you are planted’

Sunday School Lesson
Rev. James Temples

Ezekiel 3:1-11

The adage, “Bloom where you are planted,” has many applications. It is important for an individual to accept the fact that circumstances are not controlled by our wishes nor personal plans. Our response to any situation determines the way our lives will be lived, and our usefulness in the kingdom of God.

The small kingdom of Judah was all that remained of the mighty nation of Israel. This kingdom did not positively respond to the call of our Heavenly Father, the creator of the universe, to return to the God of their fathers. The external political and social conditions were at least tolerable. The God-given prophets continued their clarion call to “repent.” If these calls were rejected or ignored, destruction would result.

The Babylonians captured the capital city, Jerusalem, and carried away the brightest of the land. The first wave of captives was to be trained to serve in the Babylonian government. This group included Daniel, the “three Hebrew children,” and many other brilliant minds of that day. The next group included the members of the priesthood, and other individuals of the Jewish leadership. The priest, Ezekiel, was in this wave.

The location of Ezekiel and others was “by the driver of Chebar.” Ezekiel 1:11. In this obscure place, God, Jehovah knew the location of hungry hearts and obedient minds. In our day, there are times when it might seem that God has forgotten us as individuals and possibly as a nation. We can rest assured that this situation is not the case.

As with most of the prophets, God spoke to Ezekiel in or through visions. The scenes often began with some rather common situation. Yet, hidden within the “ordinary” was a lesson for the prophet. Once this scene was “burned into the heart” of the faithful servant, the details of the spiritual lesson would be analyzed and applied.

As the prophet, Ezekiel, reported a particular vision “Moreover God said unto me, Son of man, eat, that thou findest; eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel.” Ezekiel 3:1. The personal response was immediate, “So I opened my mouth, and he caused me to eat the roll.” Ezekiel 3:2.

When something is eaten, that material becomes part and parcel of the one who consumes it. The word picture shows us the obedience, and the effect, of the consuming of this volume. “And he said unto me, Son of man, cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee. Then did I eat it; and it was to my mouth as honey for sweetness.” Ezekiel 3:3.

The message contained in this volume was not restricted to the prophet, himself. “And he said unto me, Son of man, go, get thee unto the house of Israel, and speak with my words unto them.” Ezekiel 3:4. Those to whom this message was sent would not have been expecting to hear from God. Their circumstances were “less than ideal.” The prophet was reminded of the immediate directive, “For thou art not sent to a people of a strange speech and of a hard language, but to the house of Israel; Not to many people of a strange speech and of a hard language, whose words thou canst not understand…” Ezekiel 3:5, 6a. Thus, there would be no language barrier to be overcome. The Chaldeans might have been more receptive than many of the chosen nation, “Surely, had I sent thee to them, they would have hearkened unto thee.” Ezekiel 3:6b.

The prophet was warned of the rejection that he would meet, as he was faithful to his calling. “But the house of Israel will not hearken unto thee; for they will not hearken unto me, for all the house of Israel are impudent and hardhearted.” Ezekiel 3:7.

As we reflect upon the words from the past, how close might they picture the days in which we live? Do we find that many hearts are hardened against the message of the Gospel, Good News? In our society, many people have been “inoculated with” the message of the plan of salvation. They have enough knowledge to expose them to the truth, but have enough personal pride and arrogance to resist the personal change that the Gospel can bring.

The prophet was assured of divine help, as he delivered his message. “Behold, I have made thy face strong against their faces, and thy forehead strong against their forehead. As an adamant harder than flint have I made thy forehead: fear them not, neither be dismayed at their looks, though they be a rebellious house.” Ezekiel 3:8, 9.

Before a message can be accurately given, it must, first, be burned into the heart and mind of the messenger. Before Ezekiel would give his message in the divinely ordered manner, it needed to be planted, and cultivated, in his own heart. “Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, all my words that I shall speak unto thee (1) receive in thine heart, and (2) hear with thine ears. And go, get thee to them of the captivity, unto the children of thy people, and speak unto them, and tell them, Thus saith the Lord God; whether they will hear, or whether they will forebear.” Ezekiel 3:10, 11.

Ezekiel reported, “Then I came to them of the captivity, and I sat where they sat, and remained there astonished among them seven days.” Ezekiel 3:15. God gave the prophet an assignment, “Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel, therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me.” Ezekiel 3:17.

When the nation of Judah was overrun by the Babylonians, the temple was destroyed. At the end of the book of Ezekiel, we are given a detailed description of a yet-to-be-built temple in the city of Jerusalem. God has not forgotten his chosen nation.

If you do not know Jesus Christ as your personal savior, please accept him, today. John 3:16.

Rev. James C. Temples’ Sunday School Lesson has appeared in the Early County News each week since 1967. A native of Early County, Rev. Temples taught in public schools 32 years and 10 years at Southeastern College of Assemblies of God, in Lakeland, Fla. He also served as pastor and evangelist during those years. He can be contacted at P. O. Box 1484, Swainsboro, GA 30401; 478, 299, 2068.

Return to top