Hard To Learn Lessons
"HARD TO LEARN LESSONS"
The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, with one blow I am about to take away from you the delight of your eyes. Yet do not lament or weep or shed any tears. Groan quietly; do not mourn for the dead. Keep your turban fastened and your sandals on your feet; do not cover the lower part of your face or eat the customary food of mourners.” So I spoke to the people in the morning, and in the evening my wife died. The next morning I did as I had been commanded. Then the people asked me, “Won’t you tell us what these things have to do with us?” So I said to them, “The word of the Lord came to me: Say to the house of Israel, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am about to desecrate my sanctuary—the stronghold in which you take pride, the delight of your eyes, the object of your affection. The sons and daughters you left behind will fall by the sword. And you will do as I have done. You will not cover the lower part of your face or eat the customary food of mourners. You will keep your turbans on your heads and your sandals on your feet. You will not mourn or weep but will waste away because of your sins and groan among yourselves. Ezekiel will be a sign to you; you will do just as he has done. When this happens, you will know that I am the Sovereign Lord.’ “And you, son of man, on the day I take away their stronghold, their joy and glory, the delight of their eyes, their heart’s desire, and their sons and daughters as well— on that day a fugitive will come to tell you the news. At that time your mouth will be opened; you will speak with him and will no longer be silent. So you will be a sign to them, and they will know that I am the Lord.” (NIV)
Ezekiel and the Jews had to learn some hard to learn lessons. There are many hard to learn lessons in the Christian life.
Ezekiel 24:15-27 reveals some of the hardest hard to learn lessons:
I. When God Speaks, He means business (v. 15 “The word of the Lord came to me:” (NIV)
Four responses of those who hear:
A. Callous response - (prideful and refuse to listen)
B. Critical response - (Thinks about what we are doing wrong)
C. Careless response - (doesn’t pay attention - looking around)
D. Careful response - (takes notes, brings Bible, applies message)
II. The Plan (message) of God may not always be easy
A. v. 16-17 “Son of man, behold, I take away from thee the desire of thine eyes with a stroke: yet neither shalt thou mourn nor weep, neither shall thy tears run down. Forbear to cry, make no mourning for the dead, bind the tire of thine head upon thee, and put on thy shoes upon thy feet, and cover not thy lips, and eat not the bread of men.”)
B. The right thing to do is seldom the easy thing to do
C. The route to the mountain top is not like the meandering downward slope to the valley
III. The sustaining Grace of God is all sufficient
A. v. 18 “So I spake unto the people in the morning: and at even my wife died; and I did in the morning as I was commanded.”
B. II Cor. 12:7-10) to keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (NIV)
IV. God works all things together for our good and His glory
A. Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (NIV)
B. Psalms 23:4 “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” (NIV)
C. “Through the valley"
V. There is no substitute for a personal relationship with the Lord
A. If you know God personally you do not have to rely on someone else’s description.
B. If you know God personally you can hear from Him personally
C. If you know God personally you can rest secure in Him with a personal knowledge of His care.
VI. We reap what we sow (V. 23,
A. Gal. 6:7-9 “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (NIV)
VII. God will do all He can to reach us and reveal himself to us (V. 27 “At that time your mouth will be opened; you will speak with him and will no longer be silent. So you will be a sign to them, and they will know that I am the Lord.”)
A. God loves us too much to leave us the way that we are
B. God loves us too much to allow us to go to hell easily
C. God loves us too much to allow us to suffer needlessly
3 things these hard to learn lessons produced
1. Experience - with God
2. Example - for Israel
3. Compassion - in Ezekiel