Who would be a prophet specially sent by God? Ezekiel found the word of the Lord was not welcome because it does not agree with what the people want to hear. Ezekiel is among the captives in exile (1:1-3) and all the exiles want to hear is a message that they are soon to return to their homeland and the Temple in Jerusalem.

At the end of chapter 1 Ezekiel has a vision “and I heard a voice speaking”. Our chapter today is about what the voice says; instructions for action! “I send you to the people of Israel, to nations of rebels … and whether they hear or refuse to hear … they will know that a prophet has been among them” (verses 3,5).

Ezekiel is further told, “be not afraid of them, whether they hear or refuse …” (verse 7). God repeats the instructions to Ezekiel for emphasis. This reminds us of the words of Paul to the Corinthians, “… necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! For if I do this of my own will, I will have a reward …” (1 Corinthians 9:16,17). Is necessity laid upon us? Are we so focused on the kingdom to God and the “house of prayer for all nations” (Mark 11:17) to be built in Jerusalem that we rarely or never speak of God’s message of hope and expectation to others “whether they hear or refuse to hear”? Let us do this “of our own will”!

There is a saying that there is no time like the present. In today’s reading Paul puts it this way after quoting Isaiah that “In a favourable time … in a day of salvation I have helped you”. Paul says, “Behold now is the favourable time; behold now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2).

Now is the favourable time for us to decide whether we are on the Lord’s side and will live sensing both the help and the responsibility that He provides.