The book of Ezekiel should be studied by everyone, but especially by preachers and teachers. There are phrases that appear repeatedly and each of them gives great insight into the nature of God and the importance of those who deliver His message. He wants them to speak only what He has said in precisely the words He has given. The phrase “the word of the Lord” is found 60 times in this book and the phrase “says the Lord” is found 205 times. God’s wants His messengers to speak His message using His words.
The opening chapters give details of two incidents which emphasize this. First, there is the vision of a hand stretching out to the prophet and spreading out a book before Ezekiel. Then the Lord speaks to him and commands him to eat the book and to digest it. As he eats it there is the sweetness like the taste of honey. Bible students will immediately call to mind the words of David, who described the judgments of the Lord as more desirable “than gold . . . Sweeter also than the honey and the honeycomb” (Ps. 19:10). This man after God’s own heart also said, “How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth” (Ps. 119:103). Having eaten this book from heaven, God commanded him to go to the house of Israel and “speak with My words to them” (Eze. 3:4). God speaks again saying, “Receive into your heart all My words that I speak to you . . . and go and speak to them, and tell them, ‘Thus says the Lord God’“ (Eze. 3:10-11).
Then there is that other part of this vision when God tells Ezekiel, “I will make your tongue cling to the roof of your mouth, so that you shall be mute and not be one to rebuke them, for they are a rebellious house. But when I speak with you, I will open your mouth, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus said the Lord God’” (Eze. 3:26-27).
Do you sense the force of these words? God fastened the tongue of Ezekiel to the roof of his mouth, and the only time he would be able to speak was when he began his message with, “Thus says the Lord.” He was a tongue-tied preacher, unable to say anything unless he spoke precisely that sweet message he had eaten, digested and received into his heart!
Now imagine what would happen today if God did the same to those preachers and teachers who have “eaten” the word of God and stand to teach others. How long would Bible classes and sermons last? Everyone who teaches another should soberly think about the implication of this story.
God, give us more tongue-tied preachers!