And he said to me, “Son of man, listen carefully and take to heart all the words I speak to you.Ezekiel 3:10 NIV
Ezekiel was a prophet of God during the Babylonian exile, living in Babylon. The early part of this chapter is his commissioning from God to serve as a prophet. A prophet to a people who would not listen to him or heed what God was saying through him. But God told Ezekiel that he had made him just as stubborn as those he would preach to.
The prophet’s role was to be God’s spokesman. God would give them a message to deliver, and they would then speak that message to the people. But Ezekiel is called to do more than simply pass on the message. He is to listen carefully to the Lord’s words himself. Letting them sink deeply into his own heart and mind. The implication here is that Ezekiel will be making God’s message to Israel a part of his own life before attempting to pass it on to others.
And that is an appropriate response for us as well. I am not a prophet like Ezekiel. But God’s word does come to me through the pages of the Bible. It is tempting to read and then judge other people by how I see them falling short. But this passage tells me that I need to allow God’s word to sink deep within my life first. To listen carefully to what the Holy Spirit would teach me. And make the proper application. Then, and only then, might it be appropriate for me to help a brother or sister remove the speck from their eye (Matt. 7:3-5).