by Rick Kirk
8 June 2008
Israel had sinned so much that God had to take action and warn them. Ezekiel was the prophet called to be sent to the rebellious house of Israel which God called a rebellious nation several times. Within ten verses in Ezekiel chapter 2, Israel was branded as such no less than six times. Israel, as children of God, was not only rebellious but was impudent, stubborn (Ezek 2:4) and hardhearted (Ezek 3:7). The general spiritual condition of Israel did not please God. So He gave the prophet Ezekiel the responsibility to warn the people of Israel.
Within the wicked nation, there were those who were righteous and Ezekiel was to warn not only the wicked but also the righteous. However God also made sure that Ezekiel fully understood his obligation. There were therefore three categories of people that God wanted addressed when Ezekiel was appointed the watchman.
Not wanting any to perish, God pleaded with the house of Israel to turn from their iniquitous ways (Ezek 33:11 ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’).
God is fully aware of man’s ways. He is confident that man will change if given the warning and opportunity like the people of Nineveh (Jonah 3:10 Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it). Similarly, He is also wary of weaknesses in man, those who may be righteous presently but change due various trials, tribulation, challenges or cares of the world and fall from grace (2 Peter 3:17 You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked).
Ezekiel was then to warn the wicked to turn from their evil ways to save their own lives. (Ezek 3:18 When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity). Wicked ones were to repent, have their sins forgiven and live lives worthy of His calling. Otherwise, the wrath of God is imminent, they will surely die. What other clearer warning can there be?
The righteous amongst Israel will get the same pronouncement of judgment should they turn from their righteousness and commit sin (Ezek 3:20 Again, when a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die; … and his righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered). Those who are righteous currently need to heed this warning too. They are to remain steadfast (1 Peter 5:9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith) immovable (1 Cor 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable…) and faithful until death (Rev 2:10 Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life). Should they fail to do so, the consequences are very dire and is the same as that of the wicked ones – all the righteousness earlier will be wiped out and will not be remembered. Likewise, God is merciful and will also not remember the sins of the forgiven man (Heb 8:12 “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”)
The watchman was not spared a warning either. Ezekiel was forewarned sternly that he had a part to play in the lives of the Israelites – to the wicked and the righteous. He was to warn them without exceptions. He was to ring the message true, loud and clear. He was to tell the sinner the consequences of failing to turn to God or remaining faithful in Him. Failure of the watchman to follow those instructions too has its consequences which are being answerable for the blood of the lost to God (Ezek 3:18 & 20…but his blood I will require at your hand). The watchman will be able to deliver his soul when he has warned them (Ezek 3:19 & 21 Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul. … 21 Nevertheless if you warn the righteous man that the righteous should not sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live because he took warning; also you will have delivered your soul).
God love the world (John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life) and has no desire that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance) and has constantly and continually provided opportunities for the wayward to change. Those who are penitent who will change and turn back to Him who is able to deliver one from eternal death will have their souls saved.
The watchman is the mouthpiece of God. He has been sent to give a warning. It will be his divine duty and responsibility to do so that all will know the will of God and have hope and save their own lives. If this warning is withheld or neglected to be sounded before man, then we must be prepared to answer to Him who will judge us. A sentry who fails in his duty is no watchman at all.
The wicked, the righteous and the watchman face the same consequence unless they do God’s will – for the wicked to turn from their iniquity, the righteous to remain faithful and the watchman to sound the alarm.