But the people of Israel won’t listen to you any more than they listen to me! For the whole lot of them are hard-hearted and stubborn. But look, I have made you as obstinate and hard-hearted as they are. I have made your forehead as hard as the hardest rock! So don’t be afraid of them or fear their angry looks, even though they are rebels. - Ezekiel 3:7-9
As a leader, I take great comfort in the sovereignty of God and his provision for me to do the work he has called me to do. No matter how difficult, dangerous, or emotionally taxing the assignment may be I am able to take a deep breath and say, "Okay God, here we go!"
This is not because of what I bring to the table, my plans, or my efforts, but rather because of God knowing exactly what is needed in every and all situations and then equipping me to perform.
The comfort and joy fills me when I decide to stand firm in the LORD, and have complete trust in Him. My confidence grows when I lean not on my own understanding but on the revelation of God and His plan.
Ezekiel struggled with the impossible assignment, from a human point of view, to deliver a message from the LORD to the rebellious nation of Israel. So difficult was the task that even the LORD says to Ezekiel, "they will not listen to you. They are evil in their heart and stubborn, they are like an unmovable rock set in their evil ways."
Not very comforting to hear. But the LORD does not stop there, he tells Ezekiel, "Don't worry, I'm going to make you even more stubborn and obstinate than they are, trust in me - stand firm and I will work through you."
And this is where I often find myself as leader: I know the right decision to make - the difficult conversation that requires vulnerability - the humane and Christ-like approach to a problem - but am I willing to trust in the LORD's provision and allow Him to guide my steps?
Or, will I rebel and choose my own wisdom, understanding, and path. I know that when I do, my heart becomes just a little more hardened. The gentle whisper of the Holy Spirit becomes difficult to hear. The inclination to pray and seek guidance is replaced by an inclination to focus on profit and my own needs.
As I thought about the struggle Ezekiel faced in this encounter with the LORD, I wrote down this prayer that I imagined he might have prayed. I hope it is an encouragement to you.
Prayer of Ezekiel
My LORD, the challenge before me is too much! The burden too heavy to bear.
Why have you given me this calling? I am misunderstood, no one even cares!
I have memorized your message I have committed it to heart
Your words penetrate me like arrows but ricochet off others' hardened hearts
I will stand firm in your love and provision Steeled by the indwelling of your Spirit in me
You have made me bold and strong Your hand outstretched and guiding
My LORD, I will answer this calling!
- Is there something God has called you to do in your business or home that you've been avoiding?
- When you are faced with difficult moral choices, where do you turn for guidance?
- Is the culture you lead at home or at work one where instruction and discipline is accepted and welcomed?
Make it a great day!