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The English phrase “with reckless abandon” describes a situation in which a person does something without thought to the consequences. While the Bible cautions us against reckless abandon (see Ecclesiastes 7:17), there is a sense in which Christians are called to give themselves to the Lord with complete abandon. We see this principle at play in the text before us (Ezekiel 3:16–27).

God called different prophets to different tasks: Jonah to travel to wicked, bloodthirsty Nineveh; Hosea to marry a promiscuous woman; and Jeremiah to purchase a field just prior to the fall of Jerusalem. But of all the prophetic callings, Ezekiel was perhaps the strangest.

As we make our way through Ezekiel, we will see the many strange things that God instructed him to do. But regardless of how strange the calling seemed, he always obeyed without question.

As we saw last time, and as is reiterated before us today, Ezekiel was called to preach the message God gave him whether or not people listened (see vv. 16–21). But, in vv. 22–27, God did something very strange. He told Ezekiel to go into a valley to await further instruction. When he did so, the Lord effectively told him to make himself a recluse (vv. 24–25). Furthermore, God would make him mute in public from that day until the day when Nebuchadnezzar finally destroyed Jerusalem. He would be able to speak publicly only when the Lord gave him specific words to say (vv. 26–27). In all of this, Ezekiel raised no objection. He was the Lord’s servant and was prepared to do whatever the Lord required. He gave himself to the Lord with complete abandon.

The unbelieving world struggles to understand this. Why would anyone give him- or herself over to the Lord with such complete abandon? It makes no sense. If anything, it may be a sign of some psychological disorder! But those who live in relationship with the God who gave everything to save them from their sins understand that the cost cannot be too great. With Isaiah—and with Ezekiel—they say, “Here I am! Send me” (Isaiah 6:8). What will enable us to live with such abandon? Let me suggest at least five things.

First, a life of abandon will require us to understand, embrace, and reciprocate God’s love. We know that we love God only because he first loved us (1 John 4:19), and the Bible teaches that love manifests itself in obedience (John 14:15). We will never follow God with the abandon we should if we do not understand his deep love for us and reciprocate that love toward him.

Second, a life of abandon will require us to live life through a God-centred, rather than a me-centred, lens. “Lord, be my vision” must be our prayer if we will give ourselves fully to the Lord’s will. If we are focused on our own comfort, we will not follow God as he calls us to do. But we might be prevented even by a “good” self-focus from giving ourselves fully to God. If my interest is only in growing my own ministry, or my own platform, or my own influence, or even my own character, but I am not focused on God, I may be selective in the way in which I obey the Lord’s calling on my life.

Third, a life of abandon will—or may—require us to abandon our own plans and dreams in pursuit God. I don’t imagine that Hosea dreamt of marrying a wife of whoredom. Clearly, Jonah did not dream of preaching the gospel to the Assyrians in Nineveh. And I can’t imagine that Ezekiel dreamed of going about publicly mute for ten years until Jerusalem was destroyed. In his memoir, in which he details the dissolution of his VeggieTales dream, Phil Vischer writes,

I am very serious when I say this, beware of your dreams, for dreams make dangerous friends. We all have them—longings for a better life, a healthy child, a happy marriage, rewarding work. But dreams are, I have come to believe, misplaced longings. False lovers. Why? Because God is enough. Just God. And he isn’t “enough” because he can make our dreams come true—no, you’ve got him confused with Santa or Merlin or Oprah. The God who created the universe is enough for us—even without our dreams.

Fourth, a life of abandon will require us to submit to Scripture. Ezekiel did not have the completed Scripture, but he needed to follow God’s voice as he gave himself fully to him. In the new covenant era, submission to Scripture is inseparable from submission to God. Scripture teaches, trains, disciples, and disciplines us (2 Timothy 3:15–17). We are called to obey Scripture as we follow Christ.

Fifth, a life of abandon will require us to find our contentment in God himself, not in God’s gifts to us. Like many of the prophets before him, Ezekiel needed to learn to be content in obeying God, even if his obedience did not produce in his hearers the change that he wanted to see. “He who will hear, let him hear; and he who will refuse to hear, let him refuse” (v. 27). He must not be distracted by the disobedience of his hearers from giving himself to the Lord.

As you meditate on Ezekiel 2:16–27 this morning, ask God to enable to give yourself to him with complete abandon, fully surrendering yourself to his will for your life.