And he said to me, “Son of man, stand on your feet, and I will speak with you.” And as he spoke to me, the Spirit entered into me and set me on my feet, and I heard him speaking to me.
—Ezekiel 2:1

Reflecting on Ezekiel’s call, John Calvin (1509–1564) advises ministers of God’s word to adjust their expectations; they will not always know what God intends to accomplish through their faithful lives and labor.

Because it is What He Commands

Whenever we undertake what God instructs, we ought to have good expectations, desiring that some fruit from our work would become visible. So, we are able to entertain hopes and desires. And if something other than what we had anticipated happens, then we ought to leave the result in God’s hands and continue to pursue the task we are called to.

This is the point of the sentence: you, he says, will make known my words, or recite my words, whether they listen or not. Even if it is just like you were to sing a song to the deaf, as it is said, still you will certainly not cease to make known my words.

He also adds the explanation, because they are a rebellious people. However, God warns his servant that there is no reason why he should change his course. Even if he sees absolutely no fruit from his work, because they have no ears, all the same he must speak in the name of God. It is certain, as we mentioned earlier, there were a few to whom his teaching was useful. Here, however, he discusses the people at large.

Consequently we learn that whenever God calls us to the teaching office not to be distracted by the kind of people we are to teach. For if it pleases God to use us as we struggle with the rebellious and stubborn, still his word is to be made known because that is what he commands.

Ezekiel, Daniel, ed. Carl L. Beckwith, Reformation Commentary on Scripture, OT Vol. XII, p. 23

RCS Series on Missions & Evangelism

11 January 2016 – Luther’s Allegory of the Three Doves (Genesis 8:6-12)

18 January 2016 – The Command to Praise & Proclaim God’s Favor (Psalm 9:7-14)