Yeah, they came in goodly numbers to listen to Ezekiel. Sounds good—eh?
Not so good. Listen to why they came and what they were getting out of his messages:
My people come to you in crowds, sit in front of you, and hear your words, but they don’t obey them. . . . Yes, to them you are like a singer of love songs who has a beautiful voice and plays skillfully on an instrument. They hear your words, but they do not obey them. (Ezekiel 33: 31,32; HCSB)
There was nothing wrong with the prophet’s preaching—the problem lay solely in his listeners! They were interested in how he preached—not in what he preached.
Today, people flock to popular preachers, some of whom preach well, and truthfully, but the listeners fail to live changed lives. The reason might be the same as it was in Ezekiel’s day.
If all those who attend popular preaching were to go out and live as they are told in the preachers’ messages—even for one week—what a difference it would make!
Truth must be mixed with faith, and faith with obedience.
Obedience is a lost concept today in some circles. All one must do to grow by grace is to listen to and contemplate the Gospel. This quasi-mystical and quazi-monastic viewpoint is dangerous. It also leads to listening to preachers “sing!”
Think about why you go to hear preaching. It may be because the preaching you hear doesn’t demand much of you. But even if it does—as in Ezekiel’s case—you must come in the right attitude. Listening to love songs won’t cut it.