Holy Headbutting

At the age of thirty, Ezekiel is living with a group of Israelites forcefully removed from Judah to live in exile near the river Kebar in the nation of Babylon. As he gazed out over the river he received a vision of the mobile throne of God and by his description of it, it must have been truly awesome to behold. (Ezekiel 1)  After having beheld the very throne of God he is charged with the duty of speaking God's words to the people of Israel with the encouraging promise that they won’t listen to anything Ezekiel says (Ezekiel 2). 

Throughout chapters two and three Israel is described as a rebellious and stubborn people. God choose them to be His people, a holy nation of priests, a shinning example to draw the world to God!  But instead of submitting to God's designs they followed the example of the world around them, chasing after the false gods of their neighbors. Israel continues to stubbornly reject God and yet God continues to stubbornly pursue Israel with a steadfast love.

Knowing the difficulty of the task set before the prophet, God equips Ezekiel with the willpower needed to accomplish the job. The people are stubbornly refusing God so God will make His prophet just as stubborn in calling them to repent. Ezekiel has been promised a forehead of the hardest rock so he can resist their angry looks and other forms of opposition.

With this description I can’t help picturing Ezekiel as a headbutting champion, defeating all challengers with his forehead of stone!  But it’s doubtful that this is a stone forehead in the literal sense. After years of rebellion the Israelites have built up a callous around their brain, a stubborn willpower that refuses to listen. Ezekiel is given a way to break through that callous to deliver God’s message.

Please note that this boldness and disregard for the disapproving opinions of His peers did not come from within himself. Ezekiel was not instructed to dig deep within himself to find the strength to endure. Ezekiel’s determination is of divine origin. It is not his strength but God's strength in him that makes his mission possible. You cannot preach to stubborn people if your will is weaker than theirs. Inevitably you will butt heads and when you do you need the Lord's words and strength of will to prevail.

"Then He said to me: "Son of man, go to the house of Israel and speak My words to them. For you are not being sent to a people of unintelligible speech or difficult language but to the house of Israel. You are not being sent to many peoples of unintelligible speech or difficult language, whose words you cannot understand. No doubt, if I sent you to them, they would listen to you. But the house of Israel will not want to listen to you because they do not want to listen to Me. For the whole house of Israel is hardheaded and hardhearted. Look, I have made your face as hard as their faces and your forehead as hard as their foreheads. I have made your forehead like a diamond, harder than flint. Don't be afraid of them or discouraged by the look on their faces, even though they are a rebellious house." " {Ezekiel 3:4-9 HCSB}
I am reminded of the apostles in Acts 4 and Ephesians 6 who, when faced with opposition to the gospel, did not pray for deliverance or removal of the opposition, they did not pray for an easy life of comfort, instead they prayed for boldness, for the strength of will to endure persecution and opposition, for a forehead hard enough to withstand some holy headbutting.  We should all pray that God will strengthen our own foreheads against peer pressure and the opposition to His Word.

"Pray also for me, that the message may be given to me when I open my mouth to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel. For this I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I might be bold enough in Him to speak as I should. " {Ephesians 6:19-20 HCSB}

further reading: