Lesson 8: July 23, 2017

Ezekiel’s Call: Ezekiel 3: 1-11

Teaching Strategy: Share stories of Christians who stood firm – or who are now standing firm – for Christ in hostile environments. Discuss what their examples teach us about courage under fire.

Ezekiel was called to deliver the word of God in a hostile environment: to the house of Israel, described in this passage as rebellious. “But the house of Israel will not listen to you, for they are not willing to listen to me; because all the house of Israel have a hard forehead and a stubborn heart” (v. 7). God promised to give Ezekiel a “hard forehead” (a tough skin) so that he would be able to persevere in speaking to the people, whether they were willing to hear or not.

Around the world there are Christians living in hostile environments for whom standing firm for Christ may be both difficult and dangerous. Christians in more hospitable environments are called to learn about their sisters and brothers in Christ, to pray for them, and to work through appropriate means to ensure their safety and religious liberty.

In the story of Ezekiel’s call the people who needed to hear God’s word of judgment and God’s call to repentance were not foreigners or outsiders, but rather God’s own covenant people.  Reflecting on the story invites the questions: What word of judgment or call to repentance does God want delivered today – not to outsiders – but to believers within the church? Whom is God calling to speak?

Summer 2017 Theme: God’s Urgent Call

Unifying Principle: Discouragement and doubt can be hindrances to what we hope to achieve. What concrete action can help us get beyond our fears? Ezekiel’s call involved eating a scroll that sweetened the bitter taste of his mission and receiving from God extra strength and protection for the challenges that lay ahead.

Posted on: July 18, 2017, by : Sharon Harris-Ewing