I have made thee a Watchman
Ezekiel 3:17 “Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the Word at My mouth, and give them warning from Me.”
Every city in Israel had several watchmen. They would walk about the walls of the city at night….when everyone was asleep, and watch outside the walls for an enemy. If they saw an enemy coming, they were to give the alarm, so that the city would awaken and prepare for the battle.
Ezekiel was taken captive the second time Nebuchadnezzar came and took captives from Jerusalem.
He was of the priestly family, and called as a prophet to the people who had gone into captivity with him.
He had seen a marvelous vision of “the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of One that spake.” (Ezekiel 1:28)
God made Ezekiel a watchman to the house of Israel….to see all that the Lord showed him……and give them God’s Word….”a warning from Me”.
(I want to speak here about perseverance. It is spoken of only once in the scriptures: “….watching thereunto with all perseverance….”
Ephesians 6:18 “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;”
We are to pray for our bothers and sisters in Christ…..and watch….with perseverance for them.
Perseverance means “to be earnest toward a thing, to be constantly diligent, to steadfastly attend to all the exercises, to adhere closely”
In other words…..our goal is to stick close to God and His Word to us, and stay there….watching for others in prayer.)
God had not forsaken Israel…
He gave them Jeremiah, still in Jerusalem….warning the people, there.
He gave them Daniel, in the palace….working for God’s people there…..in duty to the king, and in prayer, and testimony.
He gave them Ezekiel, among the working captives…..warning the people there.
What amazing grace to a people that were “rebellious” (Ezekiel 2:6).
(And His grace to us is no less than this….amazing)
But what was the enemy that Ezekiel was to watch for as a Watchman?
The enemy of……..complacency in their sin.
Ezekiel 3:11 “And go, get thee to them of the captivity, unto the children of thy people, and speak unto them, and tell them. Thus saith the Lord God, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear.”
You see, the people that were taken captive, were waiting for God to act on their behalf.
They wanted to believe, that since they were God’s chosen people, that He would have to deliver them…..no matter how they acted.
But that was a false belief……God will not act contrary to His Word….and He had warned them many times about their sin….of choosing the heathen’s ways and idols, over Him.
And so He had Ezekiel set down some basic instruction for His people. And Ezekiel was responsible to God, to tell them.
Would they hear it…..now that they were in captivity?
Or would they “forbear”…..fool themselves into believing that God will not rebuke and chasten their continuing sin.
(You see, their chief sin, was trying to be as the nations around them….in life, and in worship. Idolatry became the sin which destroyed them.
[And isn’t it the same with us…..we want to be like everyone else….want to fit in…..do not want to be different. But as Christians, we are always set apart to the Lord.]
Amos 3:1-2 “Hear this word that the Lord hath spoken against you….saying,
You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.”
God had brought them out of slavery in Egypt,….given them His law and His presence in the Tabernacle,….and brought them into a land that He had promised Abraham…..yet they turned away from Him, and toward the people and the gods of the nations around them.)
Ezekiel could not make them hear…..but he could speak God’s Words faithfully,…..and that he did.
“Give them warning…..from Me.”
To Ezekiel, God had said, there were two kinds of people: the wicked and the righteous.
Those that kept God’s statues (His Word)….the righteous.
And those that turn away from it and commit iniquity…..the wicked.
(Iniquity is doing anything unequal to the high calling given us by God.
It is knowing how to act,….what to do…..and refusing to follow that light.)
Ezekiel 18:20 “The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.”
This was something new…..Israel was still Israel….but they were going into captivity….the nation as a nation, would not be for seventy years….now God was going to judge according to what each person knew……and did…….and with that knowledge alone.
The wicked, if they would hear,….could turn away from their iniquity….and when they do….they will not be judged by the evil that they did…..but by what they turn and do,….now.
Ezekiel 18:21-22 “But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.
All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live.”
But if the righteous see the wicked, and think that they could “get by with what they do”……..and begin to follow after and do iniquity?
Ezekiel 18:24 “But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? all his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he that sinned, in them shall he die.”
God did not want to chasten His people……He would rather have them obedient and blessed….that is why He sent a Watchman…..Ezekiel, to warn them…..
Ezekiel 18:23, 30-31 “Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God: and not that he should return from his ways and live?”
….Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin.
Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?”
This was the message that Ezekiel was to give to the captives in Babylon……turn and live…..”for why will ye die, O house of Israel?” (Ezekiel 18:31).
(I want to mention here that death is separation:
spiritual death is separation from God…..(Ephesians 2:1-3)
Physical death is the soul’s separation from the body….the soul going either to heaven or hell.)
Ezekiel 33:7 “So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at My mouth, and warn them from Me.”
As watchman, Ezekiel was to sound the warning to those Israelites….to awaken them to the enemy of their sin…….with God’s Word.
Israel was to go into captivity for seventy years (the number of the years of rest that the land was suppose to have….but they did not give it. Every seventh year, the land was to rest)…..and Ezekiel was sent to them….and he did…..warning them again and again.
Three times he gives them this message of warning…..turn and live: Ezekiel 3, 18, 33.
This last verse, ends God’s warning to them…..they know….will they turn and live; or will they forbear?
Now it is up to them:
“And when this cometh to pass,(lo, it will come,) then shall they know that a prophet hath been among them.” (Ezekiel 33:33)
Beginning at Ezekiel 34, Ezekiel stops warning them…..(they have heard…..will they live….or die?)
…..and begins to speak God’s Word to those that have been a hinderance to Israel, or an enemy…..
……..and then to tell of His promises…..afterward.
For God is looking beyond….to the end of the seventy years,….and even beyond….giving those that would turn and live……His Word, in promise.
Ezekiel 36:24-27 “For I will take you from among the heathen,…..and will bring you into your own land.
Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: for all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.
A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.
And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep My judgements, and do them.”
This was God’s Word to all who would hear…..turn….and live.
God’s Word is given unto us, as well: we each are called to be a Watchman to our own souls…..
To Awaken…….we always need to wake up to our sins, and iniquities (anything unequal to our high calling in Christ Jesus).
Ephesians 5:14 “Wherefore He saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.”
Matthew 16:26 “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”
To Encourage in promise:
Romans 8:16-17 “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ, if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together.”
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 “And the very God of Peace sanctify you wholly, and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Faithful is He that calleth you, Who also will do it.”
Hebrews 13:5 “Let your conversation (walk of life) be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
1 John 5:4 “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.”
We are to hear His Word to us…..persevere in it,…..and then we are to….pass it on; by our life, by our testimony,….
……..”watching thereunto with perseverance and supplication for all saints”
Our God has given us so much….let us hear His Word, and use it.