Rejecting Gospel Light
But when I speak with thee, I will open thy mouth, and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; He that heareth, let him hear; and he that forbeareth, let him forbear: for they are a rebellious house. Ezekiel 3:27
suggested further reading: Isaiah 6:8–13
Ambassadors are usually sent to conciliate, by courteous and friendly discourse, those with whom they have to deal. But God here follows a method completely contrary to that. Ezekiel tells us the Lord says, “He who hears, let him hear: he who forbears, let him forbear.” By this the Israelites may understand that the prophet was sent to them, not because there was any hope of their becoming wise again, since they had proved by sufficiently numerous examples that they were altogether desperate, but to tell them that that the Lord will strike and wound them further, and at length inflict a deadly blow on them.
Now we see confirmation of what the prophet previously warned, that the office of teaching was given to him, not because his labor would be useful and fruitful among the common people, but that he might enflame the Israelites to madness if they still prove unwilling to grow wise.
God deals with the reprobate in various ways. Sometimes he appears doubtful that they can be cured. He sends prophets to them to exhort them to repentance. But when he sees their ingratitude in burying the light that is sent to them, God then deprives them of all doctrine. The light shines forth again but at length is succeeded by other, deeper darkness.
Therefore, as long as the doctrine of salvation shines upon us, let us hasten to repent lest God darken all our minds and senses, and deprive us of the singular benefit of having the image of his paternal favor engraved on us.
for meditation: It is sobering to think that continued rejection or disregard of the gospel may result in its removal. With the great blessing of gospel light comes great responsibility to steward that light. What a curse it would be if we were driven into darkness as the Israelites were in Ezekiel’s day!