You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen, for they are rebellious.Ezekiel 2:7 NIV
I am reasonably certain that I would have failed miserably as a prophet of God in the Old Testament. The prophets mostly seemed to come during times of rebellion in the nation’s history. Nathan and Gad, who served during the reign of David, were exceptions. But those whose writings we have in the Old Testament were generally calling for repentance from widespread idolatry and social injustice. And by and large, the people just ignored them. And I would have found that horribly discouraging.
God’s words to Ezekiel in this passage were likely given to all of the prophets in one form or another. They were given a message to proclaim. And their responsibility was to tell the people what God had given them to say, not just when the people were receptive to it. But especially when they were not. Whether they would listen or not, Ezekiel and the other prophets were to be faithful in proclaiming God’s word.
But these words given to Ezekiel were not just applicable to the Old Testament prophets. They are just as relevant for believers today. We have been given the gospel message. And we have a responsibility to share it with a lost world. Whether they listen to us or not is not relevant. What is relevant is whether we will obey God or not.
Not all of us are called as evangelists and gifted to proclaim that message out in the marketplace. But all of us do have good news to share with friends and family. Sometimes they will listen to us. And other times, they will not. But, regardless, we should share it with them.