“Stand up, son of man,” said the voice. “I want to speak with you.” The Spirit came into me as he spoke, and he set me on my feet. I listened carefully to his words. “Son of man,” he said, “I am sending you to the nation of Israel, a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me. They and their ancestors have been rebelling against me to this very day. They are a stubborn and hard-hearted people. But I am sending you to say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says!’ And whether they listen or refuse to listen—for remember, they are rebels—at least they will know they have had a prophet among them.
“Son of man, do not fear them or their words. Don’t be afraid even though their threats surround you like nettles and briers and stinging scorpions. Do not be dismayed by their dark scowls, even though they are rebels. You must give them my messages whether they listen or not. But they won’t listen, for they are completely rebellious!”
The immortal God addressed Ezekiel by calling him “son of man,” emphasizing the distance between them. It is amazing that God chooses to work his divine will on earth through finite, imperfect beings.
The world of business defines success in terms of giving customers what they want. Ezekiel, however, was called to give God’s message to the people whether they would listen or not. The measure of Ezekiel’s success would not be how well the people responded, but how well he obeyed God and thus fulfilled God’s purpose for him. Isaiah and Jeremiah also prophesied with little positive response (see Isaiah 6:9-12; Jeremiah 1:17-19). God’s truth does not depend on how people respond.
God will not judge us for how well others respond to our faith, but for how faithful we have been. He always gives us the strength to accomplish what he asks us to do. He doesn’t expect us to be perfect, but instead to be willing and obedient servants, faithful to what we know is true and right.