“So you, son of man, I have made a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me.” (ESV – Read the chapter)
This is the second time now Ezekiel has been given this message. The first was in the context of a series of warnings to the people of Israel. This time it comes on the heels of a series of warning to the nations. He was called to warn the people about God’s impending judgment. If the people didn’t listen, they were going to be judged and the fault would be entirely their own. If they listened, they would be saved and Ezekiel was to thank. If, however, he didn’t warn and they received the judgment coming, their doom would rest on his head since he didn’t warn them as he was told. This is powerful stuff. What does it mean for us?
I think there is a call and a warning here for the church today. We are God’s primary kingdom advancing instrument today. Second to the Scriptures, we are the primary way He reveals Himself to the world. We stand in the place of the prophets of old. We have in our possession the words of life.
This is not a neutral state of affairs. We are to proclaim those words to the world around us. If we do and they don’t listen, the results are on their heads. If we proclaim and they repent, we are to thank for their salvation. If we do not warn, though, and judgment comes, they will pay the prices for their sins, but the guilt will rest on our shoulders.
Here’s the challenge: As followers of Jesus in the midst of a declining culture, we don’t have the luxury of being silent any longer. We can’t wait for the people to come to us. We must go and tell. There is no substitute for it. We can go across the oceans, but we can also go simply across the room. But go we must. We must look for every opportunity God makes available to proclaim the words of Jesus that bring life to those who receive them. We must do it with grace and humility and love; we must do it with a sterling character that befits our message; we should do it first with the people closest to us; but most of all we must do it.
As Peter would later write and all the prophets make clear with the shape of their prophecy: Judgment begins with the house of the Lord. If there are souls perishing because we didn’t tell them, that’s where He will start. I don’t want to face that and you don’t either. Let’s get to work.