The Appointment of Ezekiel as Watchman
Verse 1 – Again the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
Verse 2 – “Son of man, speak to the children of your people, and say to them: ‘When I bring the sword upon the land, and the people of the land take a man from their territory and make him their watchman,
Verse 3 – ‘when he sees the sword coming upon the land, if he blows the trumpet and warns the people,
Verse 4 – ‘then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, if the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be on his own head.
The trumpet was used by the watchman to warn the people of coming danger. If the watchman failed to sound a warning, then what happened next would be on his head.
Verse 5 – ‘He heard the sound of the trumpet, but did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But he who takes warning will save his life.
Throughout the Bible are warnings of a coming judgment. Some will head that warning and choose to live following Christ, many will ignore and rebel. Each person is responsible for the choice they make while living because after death it’s too late!
Verse 6 – ‘But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.’
Those who God has anointed and appointed as pastors and leaders of His people are the watchman over God’s people. If people aren’t told the truth of the “Whole Gospel,” then what good is it for God to place them in that possession in the first place. Yes, there is a loving Savior who died for all the world, but an individual has to receive that love and forgiveness, however when people leave out the consequences for denying Him, then there will be consequences for them.
Verse 7 – “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.
Verse 8 – “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.
Verse 9 – “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.
Verse 10 – “Therefore you, O son of man, say to the house of Israel: ‘Thus you say, “If our transgressions and our sins lie upon us, and we pine away in them, how can we then live!” ‘
God wanted the captive to know that even though they had rebelled against Him all these past years, they didn’t have to continue in their sin. God assured them of forgiveness if they repented – turned towards God. God looks at what we will become through Christ, not at what we have been without Him. We are not to continue to live under the heavy burden of our past guilt, we give it all to Christ and He will give us rest.
Verse 11 – “Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘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!’
Verse 12 – “Therefore you, O son of man, say to the children of your people: ‘The righteousness of the righteous man shall not deliver him in the day of transgression; as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall because of it in the day that he turns from his wickedness; nor shall the righteous be able to live because of his righteousness in the day that he sins.
Some people think because they have lived by doing good works will excuse their sin or transgressions. They assume the good works out-weigh the bad. Re-read verse 12 because God is very clear. However, when the wicked turn from their evil ways toward God, their wickedness is remembered no more.
Verse 13 – “When I say to the righteous that he shall surely live, but he trusts in his own righteousness and commits iniquity, none of his righteous works shall be remembered; but because of the iniquity that he has committed, he shall die.
Plain and simple: Past good deeds will not save a person who decides to turn to a life of sin! We have no righteousness on our own. Some may disagree with me on this, but I believe this verse is referring to those who “Backslide,” and continue backsliding without true repentance.
We have no righteousness of our own. Christ took all our transgressions and iniquity when He died for the sins of the world, however, we as His children, received His righteousness in exchange when we chose to give Him our hearts and souls! So the righteousness that the children of God now have is of God, Jesus Christ.
Verse 14 – “Again, when I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ if he turns from his sin and does what is lawful and right,
Verse 15 – ‘if the wicked restores the pledges, gives back what he has stolen, and walks in the statutes of life without committing iniquity, he shall surely live; he shall not die.
Make restitution when possible. Read Luke 19:1-10. It makes no sense to ask God for forgiveness for yourself when you are holding what you took wrongfully from another. Benefits obtained by dishonest means, is greed for gain and Proverbs 1:19 says that it will take away the life of its owners.
Verse 16 – None of his sins which he has committed shall be remembered against him; he has done what is lawful and right; he shall surely live.
Verse 17 – “Yet the children of your people say, ‘The way of the Lord is not fair.’ But it is their way which is not fair!
Verse 18 – “When the righteous turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, he shall die because of it.
Verse 19 – “But when the wicked turns form his wickedness an does what is lawful and right, he shall live because of it.
When the wicked turn from their wicked ways and begin to live for Christ, we call this being “born again.” Whether some believe it or not, we were all wicked, dying in our sin before we came to Christ. Here is what God is saying, “If you continue to backslide, even though you once knew the Lord, you will die in your sin unless yo truly repent. I’ve heard too many people say, after their loved one passes away, that they used to go to church so I know they went to heaven.” However, there is not one shred of evidence that they were ever “born again” from their life-style that they lived. The Bible says we will know them by their fruit. We ought to be able to tell the difference between a believer and none-believers.
Verse 20 – “Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not fair.’ O house of Israel, I will judge every one of you according to his own ways.”
Verse 21 – And it came to pass in the twelfth year of our captivity, in the tenth month, on the fifth day of the month, that one who had escaped from Jerusalem came to me and said, “The city has been captured!”
It took a messenger five to six months to reach Ezekiel with the news Jerusalem had fallen captive. The siege of Jerusalem lasted two years and seven months.
Verse 22 – Now the hand of the Lord had been upon me the evening before the man came who had escaped. And He (God) had opened my mouth; so when he came to me in the morning, my mouth was opened, and I was no longer mute.
Remember reading at the beginning of Ezekiel’s ministry that he was unable to speak unless God opened his mouth with a specific message? After the false prophets were exposed and all of Ezekiel’s prophecies came true, he was able to open his mouth on his own again.
Verse 23 – Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying:
Verse 24 – “Son of man, they who inhabit those ruins in the land of Israel are saying, ‘Abraham was only one, and he inherited the land. But we are many; the land has been given to us as a possession.’
Verse 25 – “Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “You eat meat with blood, you lift up your eyes toward your idols, and shed blood. Should you then possess the land?
Verse 26 – “You rely on your sword, you commit abominations, and you defile one another’s wives. Should you then possess the land?” ‘
Verse 27 – “Say thus to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “As I live, surely those who are in the ruins shall fall by the sword, and the one who is in the open field I will give to the beasts to be devoured, and those who are in the strongholds and caves shall die of the pestilence.
Verse 28 – “For I will make the land a desolate, her arrogant strength shall be so desolate that no one will pass through.
Verse 29 – “Then they shall know that I am the Lord, when I have made the land most desolate because of all their abominations which they have committed.” ‘
Verse 30 – “As for you, son of man, the children of your people are talking about you beside the walls and in the doors of the houses; and they speak to one another, everyone saying to his brother, ‘Please come and hear what the word is that comes from the Lord.’
Verse 31 – “So they came to you as people do, they sin before you as My people, and they hear your words, but they do not do them; for with their mouth they show much love, but their hearts pursue their own gain.
Verse 32 – “Indeed you are to them as a very lovely song of one who has a pleasant voice and can play well on an instrument; for they hear your words, but they do not do them.
The people showed up to listen to Ezekiel, probably patted him on the back and said, “That was a fine and good message.” However, God saw into their hearts, just as today, and knows as He knew them, that the people had no intention of obeying the Lord’s ways.
Verse 33 – “And when this comes to pass – surely it will come – then they will know that a prophet has been among them.”
Do you know why there are so many people who live as though there is no God? Do you ever wonder why, even some of those who call themselves Christians, don’t believe God’s word is true? It’s because so few actually read His word for themselves. I’m amazed with God’s people who know so little about His blessings and what belongs to them as a child of the Most High. If you want that deep loving relationship that comes with “Being born-again,” then read His word and find out what it means to have a loving Father who will never, ever, leave you or let you go!!