(This week’s post comes again from Michael Porto)
At two times in the story of the Bible, both in books that employ a lot with figurative language, two men are instructed by an angelic being to eat a scroll of parchment with words on it. The first occurs in Ezekiel chapter 3. By way of reminder, Ezekiel was a prophet of Israel that lived during the 6th century B.C when the Israelites were in Babylonian captivity. His God-given ministry was to connect the Israelites’ current living conditions (living in exile) with the judgement of God. The other man in question is the apostle John, who was living on the island of Patmos when he wrote the letter we know as Revelation. Below are the texts in questions.
Ezekiel 2:9–3:3And when I looked, behold, a hand was stretched out to me, and behold, a scroll of a book was in it. And he spread it before me. And it had writing on the front and on the back, and there were written on it words of lamentation and mourning and woe. And he said to me, “Son of man, eat whatever you find here. Eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel.” So I opened my mouth, and he gave me this scroll to eat. And he said to me, “Son of man, feed your belly with this scroll that I give you and fill your stomach with it.” Then I ate it, and it was in my mouth as sweet as honey.
Revelation 10:1–10Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven…He had a little scroll open in his hand…Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me again, saying, “Go, take the scroll that is open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.” So I went to the angel and told him to give me the little scroll. And he said to me, “Take and eat it; it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey.”  And I took the little scroll from the hand of the angel and ate it. It was sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it my stomach was made bitter.
Both of these men functioned as the mouthpiece of God; it was their job to communicate to others the message that God gave to them. As a result, they needed to be well acquainted with the content and subject matter. That’s the idea in these two sections of scripture. The message that these men were going to bring to others needed to be digested (not just sampled) by the speakers, so they were told to eat the scrolls.
What if we apply the same context to ourselves as husbands, fathers, and believers? There are people all around us that need to hear this message of hope that God has given to us to spread and not just those who have yet to hear it the first time. When our children are choosing sin over life, they need to hear this message of hope. When our wives are hurt by the actions of those around them, they need to hear this message of hope. When our neighbors show by virtue of their choices that they care little for God’s glory, they need to hear this message of hope. It is terrible to sin, but it is wonderful to be forgiven. We, the church, are His chosen mouthpiece and we are the ones that have been entrusted to take this message to our family, neighbors, and nations.
But if we haven’t digested the message, if we attempt to speak these truths without experiencing them ourselves firsthand, we are missing the mark. We have all seen the security videos of UPS, USPS, and FEDEX delivery men doing a poor job at delivering – throwing TVs over fences, chucking packages into the back of their delivery vehicles and so forth. They seem to define the term “deliver” in a different way than the rest of us would. What’s the point? God doesn’t want us to merely deliver His message.
But some of us do just that and think we are doing right, all the while missing that we are supposed to have internalized the truths of scripture and allowed them to impact our daily lives before we take them to others. We need to be changed by the Word. Paul, in 2 Corinthians 5, chose to use the word ambassador – “we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.” An ambassador represents the one he serves. He lives under the mandate he is seeking to present to others.
This is what we have been called to do as husbands, fathers, bosses, neighbors, employees, etc. So read the Word! Digest it! Savor it! Let its all-consuming truths wash over your heart with a grace that can be found nowhere else. Taste and see that God is good! Then we will be able to become Christ’s ambassadors.
May we find joy in Christ this week.