“So you, son of man: I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me. When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you shall surely die!’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Nevertheless if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul.” Ezekiel 33:7-9
I love action movies, particularly those James Bond/Mission Impossible/Bourne Identity types of thrillers. I’m always fascinated with those scenes where the characters get past high-tech security to accomplish their missions. We have come a long way since the wild-west bank robbing days, when a cowboy would pull his bandana over his nose and run into a bank with guns drawn, yelling, “Stick ‘em up!”
As in the wild-west days, ancient cities were extremely vulnerable to attack at almost any moment. In the days of Ezekiel, no surveillance cameras, radar, or infrared detection devices existed. There was just the Watchman. Occupying a suitable vantage point from which he could survey the surrounding countryside, the Watchman would blow a trumpet to warn any approaching parties, whether they be friendly or not. The amount of time a city would have to get its villagers safely within its city walls and ready for defensive action largely depended on the swift actions of its Watchman. The lives of the people were dependent on the Watchman’s vigilance.
The “Watchman” in today’s chapter is a spiritual one. The focus falls on both the Watchman's duty and the people's response. The Watchman had two responsibilities: 1) Watch for danger and 2) Warn of approaching danger. But the people were likewise responsible: 1) Listen to the Watchman, and 2) React accordingly. Having given adequate warning, the Watchman could not be held accountable if the people ignored him. If the people failed to run into the city, they had only themselves to blame if they fell under the sword of the invading army.
Ezekiel has been Israel’s spiritual Watchman. He has sounded the notes of warning concerning God’s judgment. Israel should have been fully aware that their sin had placed them smack in the middle of Babylon’s warpath. Being a Watchman is also the commission of every follower of Jesus. It is the responsibility of each of us to give a full warning (to both the believer and non-believer) of the consequences of rebellion against God and of having rejected His offer of salvation. We are the Lord’s representatives:
“Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.” 2 Corinthians 5:20 (NKJV)
We are accountable for warning the lost, and they are accountable for their response.
Elevating your Faith with daily Bible reading and devotionals written by Steve Wiggins.
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