“And He said to me, “Son of man, eat what is before you, eat this scroll; then go and speak to the house of Israel.” So I opened my mouth, and He gave me the scroll to eat. Then He said to me, “Son of man, eat the scroll I am giving to you and fill your stomach with it.” So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth.”
One of the great blessings of following a Bible reading plan such as the McCheyne plan, or any other plan that takes you through the whole Scripture on a regular basis, is that, over time, it gives you an increasing clarity on just what the Bible teaches. This is especially true if you take the time to brood over the Scriptures. That is Packer and Nystrom’s word from “Praying”, and it is used to describe the process of prayerful meditation upon the Word of God which leads to the application of God’s truth into our lives. It is that process that I believe Ezekiel is being called to into the symbolic setting of his vision in Ezekiel chapter three. He is told at least four times in these verses to eat the scroll. He obeyed and discovered that God’s Word, even when bringing us a difficult message is always sweet. It is the Word that brings us eternal life. It is to be ingested, that is it is to become part of us.
Years ago I read a tribute of john Bunyan written by Charles Haddon Spurgeon which reflected upon the reality of what was at the heart of Bunyan’s life. To paraphrase Spurgeon he stated that Bunyan was a thoroughly Biblical man. His whole nature was infused with the Scriptures. If you where to prick Bunyan with a pin he would bleed Bible because his blood was in fact bibline. What a wonderful tribute to that godly preacher and author. We need to acknowledge however that that was not a natural state for Bunyan. He was a thoroughly Biblical man because he had taken the time to meditate prayerfully upon the rich truth of the Scripture. He ingested it, and it changed him. It could be argued that this was the result of certain events which were imposed upon Bunyan, as he was imprisoned for much of his life and ministry. In the providence of God he was put in an environment where he could not be distracted from the prayerful meditation on God’s Word and the application of it to his life. For us there are many distractions, but if we are to incorporate God’s Word into our lives we must make the commitment to meditate upon it.
Ezekiel is to ingest God’s Word, and then speak it prophetically to the people of Israel. This is to be his life. The people who hear, and who read him will not be responding to Ezekiel, choosing to like or dislike his message. They will be encountering God. They will be dealing with the God who is speaking to them. The author of the book of Hebrews puts this in powerful terms as he writes to us about the God who has spoken to us in His Son.
“In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, and through whom He made the universe.”
“See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sins deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. As has just been said; “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.””
We are called to hear Him as He speaks to us in His Word. With the Spirit’s help we come to obey the truth we find in God’s Word. Therefore the word that we have heard in the Bible is God’s Word. It must become part of us as we meditate upon it, prayerfully coming to understand and apply it to ourselves. In this way we become Christ-centred people.