In Ezekiel chapter 2, God called Ezekiel to speak to Israel. (2:3). He was called to deliver God’s message even if they didn’t want to hear it. God encouraged the prophet to not be afraid of what the people may say but to speak his words (2:6-7). Chapter 3 is an assurance that God would give Ezekiel the words to speak. In his vision, God tells Ezekiel to eat the scroll (not literally but figuratively) in chapter 3 verses 1-3. Showing that, it is God who gave the message to his prophet and enabled him to become acquainted with the contents of the message so that he would be able to deliver it. In chapter 33, the message changes after the nation falls, from a message of judgment to a message of future restoration and hope.
God judges his messengers on being faithful, not fruitful. Faithfulness is ultimately a road to fruitfulness. The Old Testament prophets didn’t appear to reap much fruit because their message fell on deaf ears. However, they were fruitful. Although the people did not repent, I imagine that after their exile and fall, they were able to look back on the message of God’s prophets and recognize that it was indeed God who had been speaking to them. God used the prophets to deliver a word to the people that they would at first ignore but would ultimately lead them back to him.
God called his prophets to speak to the people but lets them know that the people won’t listen to them. Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Isaiah are examples of this. In Jeremiah’s case, the Lord knew that the people wouldn’t listen to Jeremiah because they had not even listened to him (Jeremiah 7:25-27). In Ezekiel, God directly tells the prophet to speak to the people whether they listen or not (Ezekiel 2:5, 7). In Isaiah chapter 6, God tells Isaiah that his preaching wouldn’t cause the people to repent but it would harden their hearts. God directly tells the prophets that their preaching would fall on deaf ears. Still, they obey the LORD and preach the message of judgment and repentance despite knowing that no one will listen. God was looking for faithful servants who would deliver his message in spite of being ignored.
We should always speak the word of God even when no one is listening. Today, people are spreading a false message and it may seem like the truth is not being heard but the prophets experienced the same thing. When we go out to spread the gospel of Christ, we shouldn’t be discouraged by the noise but we should remember the prophets. Though the people didn’t return to God when they heard the message, it was a word that caused them to return to the LORD even after their fall. We never know who may be hearing us when we speak. Even if they don’t heed to the message, it may come back to them later on in life.