“You, son of man, I have made a watchman for the house of Israel.” Ezekiel was to be an authoritative spokesman of Almighty God. If the Lord told him to deliver a message to someone and Ezekiel refused to do so, “that wicked person shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand.” Jehovah insisted that His messengers be faithful.
God also demanded that His people submit to what they heard from His ambassadors. “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?” It was the responsibility of the chosen people to trust in the Lord for their righteousness and to live as His faithful servants. Instead they insisted that God was being unjust with them. God’s reply to their critique: “O house of Israel, I will judge each of you according to his ways.”
Soon after the destruction of the city of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, Ezekiel received an account of what had taken place from a “fugitive” who had made his way to the place where the prophet lived in exile. “The city has been struck down.” By the time this man arrived God had opened the prophet’s mouth after a long time of being mute. (Ezekiel 3:26)
Ezekiel then delivered God’s rebuke concerning two areas of sin. First, those back in the Promised Land were trusting in themselves to be able to get back everything that the Lord had taken away from them. They imagined that they could regain the land because of there were so many of them. Second, the exiles were approaching the prophetic oracles as a form of entertainment. They enjoyed listening to the prophet, but they would not obey the Lord. Both of these significant failings were a denial of their relationship with God. He alone could restore them to the land, and they needed to hear the message of His prophet as it truly was—a directive from heaven.
Jesus came as the fulfillment of everything that Israel was supposed to be. He loved and served His Father. His cross was the ultimate victory of devoted obedience. He calls us who have received all His benefits to follow Him in all our affections, words, and actions.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Our Father, the ministers of the Word in Your churches have an important job as watchmen. They have received the truth from the Scriptures, and they must warn us all to turn from our evil ways. You have no pleasure in the death of the wicked. There is hope for anyone today in Jesus Christ. We will not trust in our own righteousness, but will turn away from the path of sin and flee to Your Son again for life. You are just in Your judgments, and have satisfied the demands of Your Law through the cross of Christ. There is evil all around us and sin within us. Grant us help from heaven through the honest proclamation of the gospel. Teach us to sincerely repent and believe every day.