Ezekiel's Popularity
Ezekiel 33:32
And, see, you are to them as a very lovely song of one that has a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument…

Ezekiel had by this time become a successful preacher. He had not always been such; on the contrary, he had been for a long time disbelieved and disliked. Now, however, he had come to be highly regarded, partly on account of the singularity of his preaching, partly on account of the striking and unexpected fulfilment of his prophecies. He was the great sensation of the day; men thought it the proper thing to go and hear him, to listen with rapt attention to the impetuous torrent of his words, and, when they went away, to discuss his message in the gates or on the housetops. Yet was the alteration but a sensible one, the reformation only superficial; and in the text the Lord exposes the hollowness of it all. I need not say how exactly this state of things is reproduced in the case of every popular preacher. Men whose lives are cruel or impure, whose hearts are covetous, whose thoughts are bitter, crowd to hear the preacher of the day, because his words are sweet, because his eloquence is full of melody, because they feel themselves for the moment fascinated, captivated, carried out of, lifted above, themselves. And then they talk about "getting good," not because they have the slightest practical intention to reform, but because they have had pleasurable emotions, and their religious feelings have been gently excited by the skilful touch of the preacher. In our own Church eloquence is so rarely heard that we are in little danger of such delusion. Ezekiel in his popularity is a type not only of all lesser preachers, but emphatically of Him who is the great Prophet and Preacher of the world, the Master of all ages, the Incarnate Word of God. A very lovely song it is which the Saviour sings; no poet, no prophet, no bard ever sung or ever dreamed, or even ever strove (and striving, failed) to express anything half so sweet, so full, so soul-subduing as the Gospel of the Grace of God. And He that sings it hath indeed a pleasant voice, for sweeter is the voice of Christ than the voice of any angel or archangel, or of any of the heavenly choirs — grander it is in itself, and sweeter far is it to us, because it is a Brother's voice, and we can feel the sympathy, we can understand the finest, softest shades of meaning which are woven through its melody. And so it is true of the people now, as of old, that they hear Him gladly; if anyone will speak feelingly, if anyone can speak eloquently of the love of Jesus for sinners, they will crowd to hear him, they will listen with satisfaction and go away pleased, — but they will not do His words. Men love to hear the Saviour's gracious invitation, "Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest," but they will not come to Him in the practical ways which He has pointed out. They love, above all things, to listen to the melodies of that last holy and tender discourse with His own, recorded in the Gospel of St. John, but they will not follow His practical counsels to such as wish to be His own. There is nothing more gladly heard by the sick and dying than that passage which begins, "Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid"; there is nothing, alas! more persistently forgotten, even by the dying than the fact that these things were spoken only to those who had continued with Christ in His temptations, who had showed that they loved Him by keeping His commandments: they hear His words, then, eagerly, but they do them not.

(R. Winterbotham, M. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not.

WEB: Behold, you are to them as a very lovely song of one who has a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument; for they hear your words, but they don't do them.

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