“Say thus to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “As I live, surely those who are in the ruins shall fall by the sword, and the one who is in the open field I will give to the beasts to be devoured, and those who are in the strongholds and caves shall die of the pestilence. For I will make the land most desolate, her arrogant strength shall cease, and the mountains of Israel shall be so desolate that no one will pass through. Then they shall know that I am the Lord, when I have made the land most desolate because of all their abominations which they have committed.” ’
“As for you, son of man, the children of your people are talking about you beside the walls and in the doors of the houses; and they speak to one another, everyone saying to his brother, ‘Please come and hear what the word is that comes from the Lord.’ So they come to you as people do, they sit before you as My people, and they hear your words, but they do not do them; for with their mouth they show much love, but their hearts pursue their own gain. Indeed 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 do not do them. And when this comes to pass—surely it will come—then they will know that a prophet has been among them.” (Ezekiel 33:27-33)
When people hear new things, most of the time the words just go in one ear and out the other. Ezekiel’s first vision and call to the role of prophet occurred when he was about thirty years old (Ezekiel 1:1). He had been taken into captivity in Babylon, along with many of the upper classes of Jerusalem, during the reign of Jehoiachin, king of Judah, who had also been taken into captivity as well. This happened about a decade before Nebuchadnezzar would destroy Jerusalem and burn the temple down.
Ezekiel’s ministry was primarily to his fellow captives, warning them about what was going to happen to the people left behind in Jerusalem and Judah. But God explained that until his prophesies came true, the people would not believe him. For them, Ezekiel was merely a source of entertainment. Nothing more. No one took him seriously.
The people claimed that they heard him, they mouthed all the right words. But in reality, they cared nothing about God or his prophet. Just because people hear the words of God doesn’t mean they’ll choose to change their lives.