"As for you, son of man, your people are talking together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, saying to each other, 'Come and hear the message that has come from the Lord.' My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to hear your words, but they do not put them into practice. Their mouths speak of love, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice." -Ezekiel 33:30-32 (NIV)
I once asked some people in a church I was serving what I might do to become a better preacher. No one said anything. So I said, "You mean there's nothing I can do to get better at preaching?" Finally, one person spoke up and said, "Well, you're pretty funny. You could tell more jokes."
In today's scripture reading, God suggests that the people flock to hear Ezekiel speak, but to them it's only entertainment.
I know how Ezekiel and God must have felt. Sometimes I feel like all people want...and all they will listen to...is entertainment. Even if I preach challenging sermons, people make comments like "you really stepped on my toes today, preacher" but then show little evidence of changing their lives in response to my challenging words.
But am I not the same? When someone says something that I don't like or agree with, I am too quick to dismiss it and dismiss them! When I am challenged, I often fail to use that challenge to lead to change.
May God grant you and me the grace to be challenged and changed today.
If you're interested in reading through the Bible in a year, tomorrow's suggestion is Ezekiel 36-37, Psalm 110, and Revelation 19.