When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.
Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?
Old Testament prophets had a tough job to do. Preaching judgment, pointing out faults. But, they didn’t just share their own passing criticisms. They spoke God’s words, God’s thoughts, God’s condemnations. In this first part of Ezekiel 33, God gives Ezekiel a little pep talk, one with a little zing. He could not ignore his calling. He could not shirk his responsibility. The blood of a nation would fall to him if he walked around tight lipped. And, their continual walk in iniquity would be his own fault.
God spells out the many responses. Some will hear and ignore it, some will hear and follow, but those with the message must share it, so they at least have that choice. Unfortunately, at the end of this chapter, in verses 31-33 we see that many in Israel listened to Ezekiel for entertainment. Just another dinner theater to occupy the time. How many seats in our church are filled with people with similar agendas? I pray I would not fall into that category, ever. In the end, the message needs to go out, and the hearer bears responsibility for action and response.
Through this judgment we then see what God wants to offer us and the people of Israel. He didn’t go around calling down judgment because He found it entertaining. What He really desires is repentance. He wants the message to go out, because He wants to bless us. He wants people to repent and turn from their sins. He sent His Son to die, and doesn’t want that to have happened in vain. He goes on to share the blessings, the bounty, the plan to bring renewed hope. God does not speak lightly, and we can rely on His promises unreservedly.
I need to share the gospel more often, with more people. Just as I cannot hold my breath, I should not hold in the gospel. It should ooze into my conversations, or their guilt returns to me.
Church demands my active participation. The messages that I hear, I have a responsibility to put into practice. I’ve heard a lot of messages over the years, and that gives me a lot of responsibility!
God desires repentance. I need to reach out to others with that same sense of compassion. Not getting something off my chest, or doing my duty, but sharing with a desire for response, for salvation from judgment.
God’s blessing is other worldly. I need to keep that perspective and motivation. It’s still coming, and I want to pour myself into His will until I get there.
Lord, Help me to see You, to hear You, to follow You and You alone. I don’t want to be just a bench warmer. I want to be in the game, an active participant, an indispensable warrior, a vital link in Your kingdom. Lord, use me, and help me never become complacent to the urgency of the message even when the response doesn’t seem to penetrate the surface. ~Amen