With prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel as examples, even those desiring to proclaim God’s word struggle to heed his summons. He gave as his powerful commission to Jeremiah: “Get yourself ready! Stand up and say to them whatever I command you. Do not be terrified by them, or I will terrify you before them” 1:17. He gave an equally powerful commission to Ezekiel: “And you,
son of man, do not be afraid of them or their words...though briers and thorns are all around you and you live among scorpions....” 2:6.
God promised Jeremiah, “...I will make my words in your mouth a fire and these people the wood it consumes” 5:14. He promised Ezekiel that, while “the whole house of Israel is hardened and obstinate...I will make...your forehead like the hardest stone, harder than flint....13:7, 9.
Both prophets shared God’s righteous anger against their depraved people. Both paid the price their message of doom cost them. And both served under divine compulsion. When Jeremiah found rejection too much to bear, and felt God had made his work too hard, he decided to no longer speak for God. Only to find himself even more stressed. For God’s word was in his heart “like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot” 20:9.
Ezekiel experienced a negative initial response when called to serve. “The Spirit then lifted me up and took me away, and I went in bitterness and in anger of my spirit, with the strong hand of the LORD upon me: 3:14. End Part I