These Three Men
“The word of the LORD came again to me, saying, Son of man, when the land sinneth against me by trespassing grievously, then will I stretch out mine hand upon it, and will break the staff of the bread thereof, and will send famine upon it, and will cut off man and beast from it: Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord GOD.”
God spoke these words to the prophet Ezekiel when the whole nation of Israel had degenerated into a state of profound rebellion and corruption. They had rejected all of God’s mercy and because of this, God was about to bring great destruction upon them. Four times in this chapter, God refers to three specific men (Noah, Daniel, and Job) and tells Ezekiel that if these men had been present during this time, they would deliver themselves and no one else. This tells me that if anyone could have been used of God to deliver his people at this critical moment, it would have been these three men.
Why did God choose to list these three men in particular? Although God can use anyone or anything, he delights in using those who have been prepared in their lives and hearts for his service:
“But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work.”
II Timothy 2:20-21
Although it may not be apparent at first, each of these three men were used by God to deliver others. How were they made “meet for the master’s use” and “prepared unto every good work”? Let’s look at them one by one….
Noah was used of God to deliver his family from the flood that destroyed the entire world. It’s important to understand that Noah “found grace” and that this was foundational to his role as a deliverer:
“And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.”
Noah was delivered by grace. A person who has been delivered by grace is someone who can be used of God to deliver others by grace.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:”
Daniel may not be someone who readily comes to mind when we think of a deliver, but God did use him in this manner. When none of the King’s “wise men” could tell the king his dream and the interpretation of it, he commanded that all these men should be killed:
“And the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain; and they sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain.”
Daniel subsequently prayed that God would show him the dream and the interpretation of it. God answered this prayer and because of this all the wise men were delivered from death. In Daniel 1:8 we see that he kept himself from being defiled by the unclean food of the king, allowing him to be a vessel well prepared for the Master’s use.
Job is another whom we might not think of as a deliverer, but God used him to deliver his three friends from God’s wrath.
“Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job.”
Job was prepared for this merciful task of delivering his three friends who had treated him so badly.
“But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.”
Are we allowing God to make us
“meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work”?