Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. If 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, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity,
but his blood I will require at your hand.”
It was a dark time for Israel. The nation had rejected God and His ways, and as punishment, God sent the mighty Babylonian Empire against them. Ezekiel himself had been captured during the first siege of Jerusalem (597 B.C.), and was now living in the great pagan city of Babylon. While he was there, God called him to become a “watchman” (i.e., prophet) to the people of Israel.
The watchman of a city was supposed to be on the lookout for enemies. It was his job to sound the alarm at the first sight of danger. If he was incompetent or irresponsible in his duties, invaders might take the city’s defenders by surprise and easily destroy the city.
In same way, Ezekiel was supposed to warn his people about God’s judgment against sin. It wasn’t a complicated job. But he would have to be bold in his faith because his people were stubborn and rebellious.
More than five centuries after Ezekiel, our Lord Jesus Christ also called Israel to acknowledge her sins, repent, and follow the Lord wholeheartedly. In response, they crucified Him.
What message do today’s Christians have for our own churches, and the world at large? We often think in terms of our Lord’s Commission (Matt. 28:19-20), but I suspect that we often minimize or overlook the fact that to “make disciples” means we also have to be “watchmen” like Ezekiel.
We have to continually (and progressively!) repent of our own sins.
We have to address sins in our own families, our own accountability groups, our own churches. We have to be on the alert against the false teachings that tell us to focus on feelings instead of Christ’s finished work, on activity instead of inward grace, on programs instead of the Holy Spirit’s power, on truisms and experience instead of the faithful study and preaching of God’s word.
We have to proclaim God’s judgment to lost and dying sinners. We have to do it lovingly, yes. But we have to do it. We have to be bold enough to “warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life”.
God has placed people in our lives so that we would be “watchmen” for them. May we be faithful to this call (Acts 20:26-27).
Written By: Kito Espiritu