Today’s selected passage continues in the Old Testament prophetic book of Ezekiel, and more specifically, is found in the third chapter. When this particular chapter opens, it opens with something that is quite peculiar when considering it. As you begin reading this particular chapter, you will quickly notice that the Lord instructed the prophet Ezekiel to eat that which he had found—to eat the roll that was before him. What’s more, is that when you carefully examine this passage, you will find that first came the eating and then came to the speaking. I am convinced there is a tremendous prophetic truth that is centered around this line of thought, for the Spirit of the Sovereign Lord seems to directly connect the act of eating with the act of speaking. What’s more, is that the prophet seems to indicate that the speaking was in direct connection and direct proportion to the eating. I’m sitting here right now and I can’t help but consider the fact that the greater the eating, the greater the speaking. The more we are willing to eat—and not just eat, but digest—that which is placed before us, the more we will be able to speak on behalf of the Lord of hosts. There are a number of men and women who perceive within themselves that they will be able to speak, yet they have not taken the time to eat the scroll that is placed before them. To the degree and proportion of our eating the scroll which is placed before us we can and will be able to speak according to the will, the heart and the mind of the Lord. The life and ministry of the prophet Ezekiel contains an encounter with the glory of the Lord which sets the entire tone and stage for the life and ministry he had been called to. With that being said, however, we discover in this third chapter that his encounter with the glory of the Lord by the river Chebar wasn’t enough for him to speak as an oracle and messenger of the Lord of hosts. In the first chapter we read of the prophet Ezekiel’s encounter with the glory of the Lord, while in the second chapter we discover the voice of the Lord speaking to Ezekiel informing him of the divine call that was being placed upon his life. This is rather unique, for first came the encounter with the glory of the Lord, which was immediately followed by an encounter with the voice of the Lord. In the third chapter we move beyond the encounter with the glory of the Lord, and beyond the encounter with the voice of the Lord, and we find a scroll being placed before the prophet—a scroll which the prophet was to eat. Within the first three chapters we find the prophet encountering the glory of the Lord by the river Chebar, we find the prophet encountering the voice of the Lord expressing and revealing the divine call upon his life, and we find the prophet being instructed to eat the scroll which had been placed before him.
It is absolutely imperative that we recognize and consider this reality, for there are a number of men and women who perceive within their minds that an encounter with the glory of the Lord is enough to set them upon and along the path that has been destined for them. There are men and women who believe the only thing that is necessary within their lives is to have a single encounter with the glory of the Lord, or perhaps even multiple encounters with the glory of the Lord, and that is sufficient enough for them to fulfill that which is and has been set before them. These individuals are sorely and completely missing out on that which the Spirit of the Lord has for them, for believe it or not, you weren’t created simply to have encounters with and in the glory of the Lord. I recognize there may be men and women who read these words and think that I have completely missed it with this line of thought, but I would submit for your consideration that these encounters aren’t enough for that which the Lord has called us to. Moses spent forty days and forty nights atop the mountain in the wilderness in the midst of the glory and presence of the Lord, and even spoke with Him face to face, yet there would come a point in time when Moses would have to come down from the mountain and stand in the midst of the children of Israel. The Lord didn’t call Moses forth from Midian to deliver His people out of Egypt, and to bring them into the wilderness to the mountain of God, so Moses could experience the glory and presence of the Lord all by and all for himself. Moses spent forty days and forty nights atop the mountain of God in the wilderness, and it was the express desire and purpose of the Lord that the children of Israel experience the Lord there at the mountain with the wilderness. All who emerged from the land of Egypt were brought to the same mountain, and all were brought there to encounter the glory and presence of the Lord. It was true Moses was atop the mountain forty days and forty night, and Joshua and a select group of others were on the mountain, yet a distance away from Moses, yet the Lord desired that each and every individual that experienced salvation and deliverance also experience the glory and presence of the Lord. Pause for a moment and consider the reality of what would and could have happened had Moses remained atop the mountain beyond those forty days and forty nights and never came down from atop the mountain. It was true Moses was called to the top of the mountain of God, yet Moses was not called to remain there indefinitely. It was true that Moses received the law of the Lord and the pattern of the Tabernacle atop the mountain, but he was to take that which he received and bring it down to where the people were.
TAKING WHAT YOU HAVE RECEIVED ATOP THE MOUNTAIN AND BRINGING IT DOWN TO WHERE THE PEOPLE ARE! If there is one way to describe ministry, it is taking that which we have received atop the mountain of the Lord and bringing down among and into the midst of the people. There are a great number of men and women who want to remain atop the mountain in the glory and presence of the Lord and never go down to where the people are. Consider the suggestion of Peter atop the mount of transfiguration when Jesus was transfigured before them and appeared to be talking with Moses and Elijah. Peter suggested that it was good for them to remain atop the mountain and to even build tabernacles for and unto Jesus, Moses and Elijah. The problem with this is that Peter, James and John were not intended on remaining atop the mountain in the presence of a transfigured Christ who talked with Moses and Elijah. Consider for a moment that at the foot of the mountain there was a man who brought his son into the presence of the disciples—his son who was oppressed by an evil spirit, and yet the disciples could not drive the spirit from the boy. There atop the mountain Peter, James and John were experiencing an encounter with the transfigured Christ, yet in the midst of that experience and encounter there was something else that was going on. Have you ever considered that while Christ was being transfigured atop the mountain before these three disciples, there was a father who brought his son before the disciples with the hope of them being able to drive forth that which possessed and oppressed his son. Peter wanted to remain atop the mountain in the presence of the transfigured Christ with James and John, yet he was completely unaware of the spiritual warfare that was taking place at the foot of mountain. Oh, how many men and women are in this very same place right now? Sure they may be experiencing an encounter with the glory and presence of the Lord, yet they aren’t aware of the spiritual warfare and battle that is taking place around them. Did you know that it is possible to become so engrossed in and with the glory and presence of the Lord that you forget about the spiritual warfare and battle that takes place all around you? What I mean by this is that you become utterly and completely consumed with wanting to abide and remain in the glory and presence of the Lord that you become numb, indifferent, and perhaps even cold to the spiritual warfare and battle which takes place all around you. Peter acknowledged that it was good for them to be there, yet while it was good for them to be there, they weren’t intended to remain there. There was a spiritual warfare and a spiritual battle that was taking place at the foot of the mountain that needed to be addressed so one could be delivered from the oppression of the evil spirit which had oppressed him.
I am utterly and completely convinced that it wasn’t and it isn’t enough for us to experience the glory and presence of the Lord alone without experiencing these two other distinct realities. In the first chapter of the prophetic book of Ezekiel we find the prophet’s encounter with the glory and presence of the Lord, which appeared to him before and by the river Chebar. The prophet Ezekiel did experience the heavens being opened, and he did experience visions of God, yet those visions of God weren’t for him alone. Oh, how many men and women perceive and believe that the visions of God they may have experience, or perhaps are even experiencing right now are designed and intended for them alone? The truth of the matter is that any encounter we have with and in the glory and presence of the Lord is not for us alone. In fact, I am convinced that it may even be possible to be selfish and self-centered in the presence and glory of the Lord, for we want to remain and abide in the midst of the glory and the presence without acknowledging and facing the reality of what lies before and around us. There are those whose sole reason and desire to remain in the glory and presence of the Lord is so they won’t have to deal with, face, and even confront that which is present before and around them. There are men and women who have absolutely no problem with remaining in the glory and presence of the Lord, for so long as they remain and abide there, they don’t have to deal with the fathers at the foot of the mountain who have brought their son to experience deliverance. These men and women want to remain atop the mountain of the Lord in the glory and presence of the Lord for they don’t want to go down to the foot of the mountain and deal with the golden calf that has been fashioned, and the revelry and debauchery that ensues before and around it. I must emphatically state that it is not enough abide, dwell and remain in the glory and presence of the Lord, and there are a number of men and women who are selling themselves short of that which the Spirit of the Lord actually has for them. There are men and women who want to remain atop the mountain building tabernacles and temples while the real spiritual warfare and battle is taking place at the base of the mountain. How many men and women are spending their days and time building tabernacles and temples atop mountains, yet they are completely oblivious and unaware of the spiritual battle and warfare that is taking place all around them?
The prophet Ezekiel experienced the heavens being opened, visions of God, and even an encounter with the glory of the Lord by the river Chebar, yet that wasn’t the end of Scripture’s account of his life. If the only thing Ezekiel was called, chosen, ordained and appointed to do was experience the glory and presence of the Lord, then the Spirit could have ended the book after one chapter. The Spirit could have concluded the book of Ezekiel with the heavens being opened, visions of God being released, the hand of the Lord being upon Ezekiel, and his encounter with the glory of the Lord. The truth of the matter is that the prophetic book of Ezekiel didn’t end after just one chapter, and it didn’t end with the prophet experiencing the glory of the Lord by the river Chebar. In the very next chapter we read of the prophet Ezekiel being instructed by the Lord to stand upon his feet in order that the Lord might speak to him directly. In the first chapter all we read is Ezekiel’s vision of the glory of the Lord, and the throne upon which He sits, yet we don’t find any record of Him speaking. It isn’t until we come to the second chapter that we discover the voice of the Lord actually speaking to Ezekiel the priest. When the voice of the Lord finally did speak to Ezekiel, notice that he didn’t speak to Ezekiel concerning the experience and encounter he had before the glory and presence of the Lord. When the Lord broke the apparent and seeming silence, He didn’t ask Ezekiel what he thought about the visions which he had seen by the river Chebar. When the voice of the Lord finally spoke to the prophet, the Lord instructed Ezekiel to stand upon his feet in order that He might speak unto him. The Spirit entered Ezekiel and set him upon his feet so he could hear that which the Lord would speak unto him. It’s worth noting and paying attention to the fact that when you come to the third verse, you find the voice of the Lord speaking to the prophet Ezekiel and informing him that he was being sent to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that had rebelled against the Lord. Please don’t miss this, for in the first chapter we find an encounter with the glory of the Lord, while in the second chapter we find the reason and purpose for that encounter—to stand before the Lord and receive instruction concerning his assignment in the earth. GLORY POSITIONS YOU FOR ASSIGNMENT! PRESENCE POSITIONS YOU FOR ASSIGNMENT! Please don’t every forget the fact and reality that any encounter you have with, before and in the glory and presence of the Lord prepares you for your assignment within and upon the earth. Encounters with the glory and presence of the Lord are meant to bring us to the place where we can hear the voice of the Lord speaking to us as we receive our assignment and marching orders. ENCOUNTERS PREPARE US FOR OUR MARCHING ORDERS! In the first chapter of the prophetic book of Ezekiel we find the encounter, while in the second chapter we find the assignment given unto Ezekiel by the Lord of hosts. In other words, the assignment was directly connected to the encounter, and the encounter was directly connected to the assignment.
When we come to the third chapter, we don’t immediately find any encounter with the glory of presence of the Lord, but what we do find is a very peculiar instruction given to the prophet Ezekiel. In the third chapter we find the Lord speaking to Ezekiel, saying, “Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll, and go and speak unto the house of Israel.” In the second chapter we find the prophet being set upon his feet so he could hear the voice of the Lord, and in the third chapter find the prophet being instructed to eat the scroll placed before him. Why? Why was the prophet instructed to eat the scroll? The answer is found in the entirety of what we read in the first four verses of this chapter—“Moreover He said unto me, Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel. So I opened my mouth, and He caused me to eat that roll. And He said unto me, Son of man, cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee. Then did I eat it; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness. And He said unto me, Son of man, go, get thee unto the house of Israel, and speak with my words unto them” (Ezekiel 3:1-4). The purpose for the prophet eating the scroll was not necessarily so he could enjoy the taste of it in his mouth, but in order that he might go and speak unto the house of Israel. The entire purpose for the prophet eating the scroll that was placed before him was so he could speak the Lord’s words and the Lord’s message to the house of Israel. Until and unless the prophet was willing to take and eat the scroll, the prophet would not and could not be able to stand before the people of Israel and speak unto them. With this being said, it’s necessary that we understand that the prophet wasn’t instructed merely to eat a portion of the scroll, or to even eat certain portions and pieces of the scroll. When the prophet received instruct from the Lord to eat the scroll, he was instructed to eat and consume the entire scroll. DO NOT PICK AND CHOOSE WHAT YOU WANT TO EAT! These words must be carefully considered and pondered within our hearts and spirits, for we know the word of God is living bread which we are to eat and consume. The problem that many men and women face is not that they are unwilling to eat the living bread that has been placed before them, but they pick and choose which pieces and which portions of that bread they want to eat. Did you know that the Word of God is a full course meal and isn’t meant to simply be an appetizer, or even dessert? Did you know that the Word of God is a full course meal that has many parts and portions to it—all which need to be eaten, digested and consumed?
I can’t help but be reminded of all those times when I was growing up and my mom would cook dinner for my brother and I, and there would undoubtedly be vegetables on the plate. I remember all those times when I couldn’t leave the table until and unless I ate the vegetables that were on my plate. Oh, I had absolutely no problem with eating that which was desirable and enjoyable upon my plate, but when it came to eating the vegetables, I fought with everything I had inside of me. Despite the fact that the vegetables were good for me, I had a hard time eating them because of how they tasted in my mouth. Oh, I can’t help but wonder how many men and women treat the Word of God like this within their lives. They eat those parts of the word of God which are pleasurable, desirable and enjoyable for them, yet when they come to those parts and portions which are less desirable and enjoyable, they have a hard time eating and consuming them. WARNING: NOT EVERYTHING IN THE WORD OF GOD IS EASILY DIGESTIBLE! We tend to think that everything in the Word of God is easily digestible, yet the truth of the matter is that this isn’t the case at all. I am reminded of the experience the apostle John had on the isle of Patmos when he encountered the angel who had one foot upon the sea and one foot upon land. “And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire: and he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth, and cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roared: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices. And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice form heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not. And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are their, that there should be time no longer: but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when He shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as He hath declared to His servants the prophets. And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said, Go and take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth. And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey. And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate I and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter. And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings” (Revelation 10:1-11).
This particular passage is unique to this subject, for the apostle John was yet another who had a scroll placed before him which he was to eat. The apostle John was instructed to take the scroll—the little book—which was in the hand of the angel, and when he took it out of the hand of the angel, he was given further instruction to take it and eat it up. We must realize that while the apostle John was instructed to take the little book and eat it up, he was also given very specific information of what eating it would do inside of him—it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey. It’s necessary to pay careful attention to what is recorded in this passage, for before the apostle John ate the scroll that was in the angel’s hand, he was informed that it would make his belly bitter—this despite the fact that it would be in his mouth as sweet as honey. This is important for us to recognize, for not everything contained within the Word of God can and will go down as sweet and as smooth as honey. When considering the Word of God, we must understand that not everything we read is going to be easily digestible. If we read the Word of God and expect everything we read to go down easily and to go down smooth, we are sorely mistaken. If we read the Word of God and expect everything we read to be easily digestible, we are sorely mistaken. There are going to be times when we read the Word of God and what we read is a tough pill to swallow, and one that may take us multiple attempts to even get it down. If and when we finally do get it down, it causes our insides to become extremely and incredibly bitter. With that being said, we must also note that we cannot, dare not and must not pick and choose what parts and what portions of the Word of God we choose to eat. It’s not enough to make the Word of God a part of your regular spiritual diet, for you must make the whole Word of God a part of your regular spiritual diet. When teaching His disciples how to pray, Jesus encouraged them to pray by saying, “Give us this day our daily bread,” yet I can’t help but wonder how many of us not only pick and choose how much bread we choose to eat, but what pieces and what portions of the bread we eat. When Jesus took the five loaves, blessed and broke it and had His disciples pass it out, no one dared complain about what portion of the bread they were receiving. Jesus had given them enough bread for that day to sustain them for the rest of the journey home. What’s more, is that there was one occasion when Jesus fed five thousand with loaves of bread and fish, and there was another occasion when Jesus fed four thousand with loaves of bread and fish. On each occasion, Jesus gave and distributed unto them enough bread that was needed for that particular day. This is much like the manna which was provided from heaven, as the children of Israel were instructed to gather only enough for what was needed for that particular day and nothing more. The Lord would provide for them enough bread for that day, and would not provide for them more than what they needed. Jesus gives us our daily bread, and gives us just what we need for that day, and we are expected and required to eat, consume and digest every part and portion of it.
Ezekiel was instructed to eat the roll, and as a result of his eating the roll, he would then go and speak unto the house of Israel. DON’T LEAVE BEFORE THE MEAL IS OVER! DON’T LEAVE WHILE THERE IS BREAD STILL LEFT ON THE TABLE! DON’T LEAVE WHILE THE BREAD IS STILL WARM! I believe there are a number of men and women who are attempting to leave the table before the meal is actually over. This is true in the house of the Lord while the meal is still being given, and while they are in their secret closets of prayer before and in the presence of the Lord. The Lord has prepared a table before them with plenty of food and drink, yet they make every attempt to leave before they have finished the meal. There are men and women who have partaken of the bread that has been placed before them, yet they proceed to get up from the table while the bread is still there. Oh, how many men and women may partake of the meal that has been placed before them, yet they choose to get up without finishing the meal? How many men and women have partaken of the bread, yet they get up and leave without finishing it? They eat pieces and portions of the bread which has been prepared for them, yet they leave so much untouched and undigested. Oh that we would recognize and realize that we don’t get to choose how much bread we consume. The Father has given us this day our daily bread, and has given us enough to sustain us for that day. The real question is whether or not we are even partaking and eating all the bread that has been provided for us. Have you ever thought that one of the main reasons why we don’t have the strength that we need, or the faith that we need, or the confidence that we need, or the rest that we need is because we are leaving bread on the table? Think about what would happen to your physical body and your physical health if you chose to cut back on eating what is necessary to survive. There are a number of men and women right now who are in the place they are in because they have chosen not to consume the entire meal which has been placed before them. These men and women get up and leave while there is still bread left on the table, and even before the meal is over. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit have agreed to come in and sup with them, yet they choose to get up before the meal is over. Consider Judas who got up from the table before the meal was over—got up from the presence of Jesus and with the bread and the wine still before him, and he did so in order that he might betray Jesus. There is a tremendous word of warning and word of caution that is contained in this line of thought right now, and that is that there are a number of men and women who are getting up from the table and leaving the presence of Jesus before the time. There is still bread on the table and wine in the cup, and yet men and women choose to rise up from the table and leave the presence of Jesus to satisfy and fulfill their own desires, passions and pleasures.
WHY ARE YOU RUSHING THE MEAL WHICH HAS BEEN PREPARED AND PLACED BEFORE YOU? WHY ARE YOU GETTING UP FROM THE TABLE BEFORE THE MEAL IS OVER? WHY ARE YOU LEAVING THE PRESENCE OF JESUS BEFORE THE ENCOUNTER IS OVER? This is true when we enter and come into the house of the Lord, as well as when we enter into our secret closets of prayer and enter into the presence of Jesus. The Father and Son have prepared a table before us, and they have invited us to dine and sup with them, yet we get up and leave before the meal is even over. What’s. more, is that we leave so much of what has been prepared untouched on the plate. Oh that we would recognize the tremendous danger that lies within and surrounds our getting up from the table and leaving the presence of Jesus before the meal is over. Remember what the apostle Peter said when Jesus asked if they too were going to desert and abandon Him—“Lord, where shall we go? To whom shall we go? It is you that hold the words of eternal life.” Tell me—when was the last time you came to the table with that mindset—the mindset that declares to the Lord “It is you that holds the words of eternal life?” I believe the Spirit of the sovereign Lord is calling us right now to take the book that has been placed and prepared before us and to eat it—and not just eat it, but eat it in its entirety. We dare not, we cannot, we should not, we must not pick and choose which pieces and which portions of the meal we eat, nor which portions and pieces of the bread we eat. We dare not be like the king of Judah who took a pen knife to the scroll which contained the words of the Lord and upon cutting them off little by little, cast them into the fire. We dare not be like Judas who arose from the table and left the presence of Jesus—and even the presence of His disciples—before the meal was over. DO NOT GET UP FROM THE TABLE BEFORE THE MEAL IS OVER! DO NOT LEAVE THE PRESENCE OF JESUS BEFORE THE MEAL IS OVER! DO NOT LEAVE THE PRESENCE OF THE BRETHREN WHILE THE MEAL IS STILL BEING OFFERED! How many men and women may not get up from the table and leave the presence of Jesus and the brethren to betray Jesus like Judas did, but they do so to gratify and fulfill their own desires, passions and lusts? Let us not get up while there is still bread on the table, and while there is still wine in the cup. IF the Father and Son have not only prepared the meal for us, have not only prepared a table for us, and have agreed to dine and sup with us, why on earth would we get up from the table before it’s time? Let us consider this reality and let us thoroughly examine our hearts and our lives and make note of whether or not we are willing to eat the book which has been placed before us—eat the book in order that we might fulfill and complete the assignment that has been placed before us. Let us not simply focus on encountering the glory and presence of the Lord without also acknowledging the need to experience and encounter His voice revealing our assignment, and our eating the scroll in order that we might go forth, stand in the midst of a people, and speak the words of God.