Ezekiel 33

Ezekiel 33 has the prophet being instructed about the role of a watchman.  Up until now Ezekiel’s messages have been concerned mainly with God’s judgment – first his judgment on Jerusalem, then his judgment on other nations. Now that Jerusalem has fallen, God shifts the prophets focus to the task of building up the exiles. He wants them to be a new people who will be ready to repossess the land when God’s time comes. This, however, is going to involve some stern warnings. Ezekiel is therefore reminded again that he is like a watchman on the city wall who must warn the people when he sees danger approaching.

Whether the people heed him or ignore him, he must carry out his duty faithfully. “‘If I bring a sword upon a land, and the people of the land take one man from among them and make him their watchman….if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet and the people are not warned, and a sword comes and takes a person from them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require from the watchman’s hand”. The stakes are high and God will hold any watchman to a high level of accountability.

I have appointed you a watchman for the house of Israel; so you will hear a message from My mouth and give them warning from Me”.  The warning is stern from Ezekiel – sin will destroy them.  Yet God desires them to be saved.  “If you on your part warn a wicked man to turn from his way and he does not turn from his way, he will die in his iniquity, but you have delivered your life….I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways”!  This is the same for us today.  God desires us to live.  That’s why He sent Jesus to rescue us from our sin and the consequence it carries – death.  We need to repent and believe.

God is all about restoration and forgiveness.  “None of his sins that he has committed will be remembered against him”.  That is the result of repentance.  God holds us accountable and each individual has a personal responsibility to do what is right in order to enjoy His blessing. Good deeds of the past will not save a person from judgment if that person deliberately turns back to sin. Bad deeds of the past will not be held against a person if that person turns from them.  Grace covers all sin if we simply receive it.  Grace is that free gift of salvation God offers us through the shed blood of Jesus Christ.  It’s a different method today than what Ezekiel’s message was – but the same God loving us as His people asking us to return to Him!

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