It’s a tough assignment, speaking to a hostile audience. Ezekiel realized this: “But the house of Israel will not listen to you, because they will not listen to Me; for all the house of Israel are impudent and hard-hearted” (Ezekiel 3:7). Lesser men bow out.
Many elders, preachers, and teachers have faced an audience that hates the Message. Your tone, apologies for human feebleness or empathy toward their error does not matter; some people will just not listen. Worse, their looks are often the precursor to acts of hatred (1 Peter 3:16; Acts 7:59).
However, God always equips those whom He calls into service (2 Peter 1:3) so He prepared Ezekiel: “Behold, I have made your face strong against their faces, and your forehead strong against their foreheads. Like adamant stone, harder than flint, I have made your forehead; do not be afraid of them, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they are a rebellious house” (Ezekiel 3:8-9).
How should a Christian respond to an angry audience? First: with the understanding that we have at our finger-tips the answers to every question of life (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Second: with just as much stubbornness as opponents of truth. Had Jesus quit, the world would still be lost (Luke 19:10). First-Century Christians “loved not their lives unto the death” (Revelation 12:11). That’s stubbornness.
We have a mandate: “As for them, whether they hear or whether they refuse – for they are a rebellious house – yet they will know that a prophet has been among them… You shall speak My words to them, whether they hear or whether they refuse, for they are rebellious” (Ezekiel 2:5, 7).
We are the watchmen of New Testament Israel (cf. Ezekiel 3:16-21). We must be unyielding, resilient, and focused when it comes to teaching a lost and dying world. In this regard, we must be like Ezekiel – hardheaded.