Ezekiel 2 … Consider His Persistent Pursuit of the Rebellious

Then He said to me, “Son of man, I am sending you to the sons of Israel, to a rebellious people who have rebelled against Me; they and their fathers have transgressed against Me to this very day,” (2:3).

It is a brief chapter, but the contents are extensive. Eight times in ten short verses a reference to the act or condition of rebellion is cited by the Lord God.

As our English translations can differ, perusal into the original language will definitely be helpful to see the extent of His Persistent Pursuit of the Rebellious (all definitions are cited from Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance).

4775. מָרַד māraḏ: A verb meaning to rebel.

Then He said to me, “Son of man, I am sending you to the sons of Israel, to a rebellious people who have rebelled against Me…”(2:3).

6586. פָּשַׁע pāšaʿ: A verb meaning to rebel, to transgress, to revolt, to sin.

“…they and their fathers have transgressed against Me to this very day,” (2:3).

4805. מְרִי meriy: A masculine noun meaning obstinacy, stubbornness, rebelliousness. 

“As for them, whether they listen or not—for they are a rebellious house—they will know that a prophet has been among them. And you, son of man, neither fear them nor fear their words, though thistles and thorns are with you and you sit on scorpions; neither fear their words nor be dismayed at their presence, for they are a rebellious house. But you shall speak My words to them whether they listen or not, for they are rebellious. “Now you, son of man, listen to what I am speaking to you; do not be rebellious like that rebellious house,” (2:5-8).

And the cause, or the result of such rebellion, or perhaps both, is also named.

“I am sending you to them who are stubborn and obstinate children, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God,’” (2:4).

Both stubborn (or impudent) and obstinate (or hardhearted) are translated using two words in the Hebrew language.

stubborn, impudent: The implication is that of people who are fiercely hard and defiant in their attitude.
7186. קָשֶׁה qāšeh: An adjective meaning hard, harsh, cruel, severe, strong, violent, fierce
6440. פָּנֶה pāneh,  פָּנִים pāniym: A masculine plural noun meaning a face. Although the literal meaning of face is possible (Gen. 43:31; Lev. 13:41; 1 Kgs. 19:13), most of the time this word occurs in a figurative, idiomatic phrase. Face can be a substitute for the entire person (Ex. 33:14, 15); or it can be a reflection of the person’s mood or attitude: defiant.

obstinate, hardhearted: This paints the derogatory picture of those who are persistently hardhearted at their very core.
2389. חָזָק ḥāzāq: A masculine adjective meaning firmness, strength… human persistence or stubbornness
3820. לֵב lēḇ: A masculine noun usually rendered as heart but whose range of meaning is extensive… it usually refers to some aspect of the immaterial inner self or being since the heart is considered to be the seat of one’s inner nature as well as one of its components… the mind… the will… the emotions

Ten verses, replete with reproachful repetitions. Being described as rebellious, stubborn and obstinate is about as far away from pleasing Holy God as one can get. And we know, when God repeats Himself, we best sit up and pay attention.

And it is sealed in writing, as God calls Ezekiel to thoroughly digest the lamentations, mourning, and woe that are categorically coming upon His Rebellious people.

“…Open your mouth and eat what I am giving you.” Then I looked, and behold, a hand was extended to me; and lo, a scroll was in it. 10 When He spread it out before me, it was written on the front and back, and written on it were lamentations, mourning and woe, (2:8-10).

But perhaps like me, you found yourself wondering yet again. Why? Why is He so Persistent in His Pursuit of those who persistently push Him away? It’s Jeremiah all over again. And the plain truth is, it just really baffles the mind.

Have you ever heard yourself say, “If I were God, then I certainly would…(fill in the blank)?” I’ve heard unbelievers utter that thought, accusingly wondering why He would allow evil to happen. But isn’t even more difficult to fathom why He would Persistently Pursue the Rebellious?

I cannot imagine continuing to extend an invitation that is regularly rejected; and I certainly cannot see myself sacrificing my son for my enemies. If I were God, I certainly would not do that. But God did.

For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us, (Romans 5:7-8).

I am so very thankful that He is God, and we are not. Because the truth is, but for the grace of God, we would still be on the receiving end of His reproach, and judgment. But when we have placed our faith in Christ and have been born again, we also know the truth, it was in His Persistent Pursuit of the Rebellious that He drew us to Himself.

No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught of God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me,” (John 6:44).

And so Persistent was He in His Pursuit of sinful man, that His Love Pursued us to the end.

Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end, (John 13:1).

Consider His Persistent Pursuit of the Rebellious

All the way back to the garden, when Adam and Eve chose to rebel against Him, His Persistent Pursuit of the Rebellious began.

They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:8-9).

  • And His Persistent Pursuit of the Rebellious continues…
    • …Persistently offering His counsel with His eye upon us.
      • I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go;
        I will counsel you with My eye upon you.
        Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding,
        Whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check,
        Otherwise they will not come near to you,
        (Psalm 32:8-9).
    • … Persistently calling us to listen to Him.
      • “Hear, O My people, and I will admonish you;
        O Israel, if you would listen to Me!”
        (Psalm 81:8).
    • … Persistently stirring our desire for a responsive heart.
      • For He is our God,
        And we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand.
        Today, if you would hear His voice,
        Do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah,
        As in the day of Massah in the wilderness,
        “When your fathers tested Me,
        They tried Me, though they had seen My work,”
        (Psalm 95:7-9).
    • … Persistently inviting us to the rewards of faith.
      • “Come now, and let us reason together,”
        Says the Lord,
        “Though your sins are as scarlet,
        They will be as white as snow;
        Though they are red like crimson,
        They will be like wool.
        19 “If you consent and obey,
        You will eat the best of the land;
        20 “But if you refuse and rebel,
        You will be devoured by the sword.”
        Truly, the mouth of the Lord has spoken,
        (Isaiah 1:18-20).
    • … Persistently promising His compassionate salvation through repentance.
      • For thus the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has said,
        “In repentance and rest you will be saved,
        In quietness and trust is your strength.”
        But you were not willing…
        18Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you,
        And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you.
        For the Lord is a God of justice;
        How blessed are all those who long for Him
        , (Isaiah 30:15, 18).
    • … Persistently extending His everlasting covenant and His faithful mercies.
      • “Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters;
        And you who have no money come, buy and eat.
        Come, buy wine and milk
        Without money and without cost.
        “Why do you spend money for what is not bread,
        And your wages for what does not satisfy?
        Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,
        And delight yourself in abundance.
        “Incline your ear and come to Me.
        Listen, that you may live;
        And I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
        According to the faithful mercies shown to David,”
        (Isaiah 55:1-3).
    • … Persistently offering eternal life through faith.
      • “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him,” (John 3:16-17).
    • … Persistently drawing all men to Himself through His death.
      • “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.” 33 But He was saying this to indicate the kind of death by which He was to die, (John 12:32-33).
    • … Persistently reminding us today is the day of salvation
      • …Behold, now is “the acceptable time,” behold, now is “the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2).
      • He again fixes a certain day, “Today,” saying through David after so long a time just as has been said before, “Today if you hear His voice,
        Do not harden your hearts,”
        (Hebrews 4:7).
    • … Persistently knocking at the door of our heart.
      • “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me,” (Revelation 3:20).

How do we respond to His Persistent Pursuit of the Rebellious?

If we have responded to His Persistent Pursuit of the Rebellious and have been saved by His amazing grace, let us be Persistent in praising our Merciful, Persistent God for His amazing grace and mercy that has secured our inheritance and our living hope for all of eternity.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time, (1 Peter 1:3-5).

And let us be Persistent in living our life by faith through the Death and Life of Him Who so Persistently Pursued us while we were yet so Persistently Rebellious.

For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life, (Romans 5:10).

  • Let us be Persistent in seeking Him.
    • “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened,” (Luke 11:9-10).
  • Let us be Persistent in our tribulations as we trust His Holy Spirit’s work in our heart.
    • And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us, (Romans 5:3-4).
  • Let us be Persistent in doing good for the Lord.
    • Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary, (Galatians 6:9).
  • Let us be Persistent in prayer at all times.
    • With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, (Ephesians 6:18).
  • Let us be Persistent in pressing on toward His upward call in Christ.
    • I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus, (Philippians 3:4).
  • Let us be Persistent in laying aside any sin that entangles us as we fix our eyes on our Savior.
    • Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God, (Hebrews 12:1-2).
  • Let us be Persistent in our trials, trusting He will work out His perfect result.
    • Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing, (James 1:2-4).

Perhaps one of the previous verses has caused us to recognize a spirit of rebellion, an area lacking in our Persistence in the faith. If so, let us waste no time in bowing before Him in confession, that we would Persistently Pursue His Will as we respond in repentance to His Persistent Pursuit to transform the Rebellious ways in our life, that we would receive His Faithful Forgiveness and Persistent Cleansing from all unrighteousness.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, (1 John 1:9).

Let’s Grow Together!

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