I know lots of people who have, but I have never been bitten by a scorpion. Living in the Caribbean, I had some near misses, lucky me! As expected, I’m scared of them…very scared. As for Ezekiel, God told him that he was going to encounter some scorpion like stings. If he was afraid, he had to dispel those fears in the strength of the Lord.
In chapter 2, after God raised him up, God told Ezekiel, “I am sending you to the nation of Israel, to a nation rebelling against me. They and their fathers have kept on sinning against me until this very hour. For they are a hard-hearted, stiff-necked people. But I am sending you to give them my messages—the messages of the Lord God. And whether they listen or not (for remember, they are rebels), they will at least know they have had a prophet among them “(Ezekiel 2: 3-5).
He tells Ezekiel how difficult the work will be. Then God continued in verse 6 – 8, “don’t be afraid of them; don’t be frightened even though their threats are sharp and barbed and sting like scorpions. Don’t be dismayed by their dark scowls. For remember, they are rebels! You must give them my messages whether they listen or not (but they won’t, for they are utter rebels). Listen, son of dust, to what I say to you. Don’t you be a rebel too!
That is harsh! Ezekiel new these people, but not as much as God knew them. They killed many prophets before, and Ezekiel had every reason to be scared. However, God called him into a walk, for which only God could prepare him.
The walk in the ruins maybe a walk of consequences, but God can turn it into a walk of courage. Ezekiel had to suffer the consequences of a sinful world, just like we all do. One way or the other, we get caught up into the ruins. But God called him to bear the responsibility for those who were in the ruin alongside him. At the same time, it was a HUGE charge that required a colossal walk of courage. “Sharp”, “barbed” and “sting” are words that shouldn’t be in the same sentence, but they were for Ezekiel. To make matters worse, God scared him, then told him not to be scared. It’s like telling a child, “I’m going to give you shot but don’t cry.” But, God can do that! He can scare us with bad news, then tell us don’t be scared, because He is Lord of EVERY thing. He’s done that to all of us, sometime or another. We face challenges, then we have to find courage in Him. The cloak of courage is the only attire that would fit Ezekiel for this walk and work in the ruins, and only God could give it to him. God will warn us that the road in the ruins will be rough and rugged, even filled with scorpions. But He will also tell us, “don’t be afraid.”
The walk in the ruins is a walk of fear, but God can turn it into a walk of faith. Taken from his home by barbarians and hauled into a different country had to be frightening for Joseph. To have Moses face the Egyptians who had him on the wanted list, had to be petrifying. To have Ezekiel preach to a stubborn set of people whose words sting like scorpion, definitely add hurt to injury. But if God is allowing the hurting and the injury, faith should allow us to accept. Sometimes the ruins sends us into confinement as it did Moses into the desert for 40 years. Sometimes it sends us into darkness as it did Paul and Jonah for three days. Sometimes it takes away our greatest possession as it did Joseph who was taken from his family and Nebuchadnezzar who lost his kingdom and lived among animals for 7 years. Compared to Nebuchadnezzar, Ezekiel had nothing to complain about, but who’s comparing? My ruins are for me. Your ruins are for you. But, no matter where you are placed to endure your ruins, faith is the hope that you will rise up out of the ruins. Faith will be your freedom in the prison cells. Faith will be your light in the darkness. Faith will be your victory every time you lose.
Faith doesn’t make sense some times, but wisdom does. Faith is wisdom into action. Don’t be afraid that you have to endure the ruins. If you must, you must. Ezekiel had no choice. Accept it and walk through the ruins fearlessly and faithfully.
Don’t be afraid of words, people will talk.
Don’t be afraid of looks, people will look.
Don’t be afraid of stings, life hurts.
Don’t be afraid of truths, they give direction.
Don’t be afraid to walk your ruins, they are cleansing.
Don’t be afraid to rise up from your ruins, God offers restoration.
People in the ruins will scowl. Actions of others will sink into your skin like barbed wires and some people will hurt you like the sting of a scorpion does. But as God said to Ezekiel, He is saying to you, don’t be afraid of scorpions.
Luke 10: 19, “And I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and to walk among serpents and scorpions and to crush them. Nothing shall injure you.”
Artwork: Avocet Brooks (Used with permission)