Ezekiel 33 … Consider His Message of Warning

“Now as for you, son of man, 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,” (33:7).

Once again, I am amazed. The Lord continues to send His Message of Warning as He reiterates His calling on Ezekiel’s life.

“Son of man, I have appointed you a watchman to the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from My mouth, warn them from Me,” (Ezekiel 3:17).

And once again I wonder, why didn’t He just turn His back on those who had turned their backs on Him? There is no way to explain His grace and mercy. But we must also not presume upon them either. This chapter has much to say about the seriousness of why He sent His prophet.

A few things are abundantly clear. God is relentless in sending His Message of Warning; and His people had proven tenacious in stopping up their ears, doubting His Truth and leaning on their own understanding.

“Yet your fellow citizens say, ‘The way of the Lord is not right,’ when it is their own way that is not right,” (33:17).

For rather than squabbling with the prophet they should have surrendered to His Word and paid attention with gratitude to His Message of Warning.

God begins by talking with Ezekiel about the duty of the one who is appointed to watch the city for invading attacks of the enemy. The watchman’s job was to watch and warn. The people’s job was to listen and take the warnings seriously. If the watchman does his job but the people fail to do theirs, their blood is on their own heads. But if the watchman neglects his duty, he will be held responsible for the death of the many. And it is with this as His backdrop that God addresses Ezekiel, “Now as for you, son of man, I have appointed you a watchman for the house of Israel…”

Can you imagine the weight of this? And can you imagine how Ezekiel viewed this call? But it is clear that Ezekiel had determined he was not going to go down for being a coward. And despite the stiff-necked refusals, Ezekiel would take up God’s calling and deliver His Message of Warning.

Ezekiel had persistently Warned the exiles in Babylon that Jerusalem would fall. And now Ezekiel gets word from one who has escaped. Jerusalem has fallen.

In the twelfth year of our exile, in the tenth month on the fifth day, a man who had escaped from Jerusalem came to me and said, “The city has fallen!” (33:21 NIV).

The city has fallen! With this statement all of Ezekiel‘s previous prophecies were fulfilled and vindicated. He was then sent with a new mission: pastoral comfort,” NIV Study Bible.

And now, perhaps the children of Israel would turn their ears and hearts to pay attention, to listen, to take heed and respond in repentance to God’s appointed watchman and His Message of Warning.

Now the hand of the Lord had been upon me in the evening, before the refugees came. And He opened my mouth at the time they came to me in the morning; so my mouth was opened and I was no longer speechless, (33:21-22).

There is so very much in this chapter conveying the heart of God’s grace and mercy, His desire for people to be saved, and the reality of His judgment on those who refuse to heed His unchanging Warnings throughout every generation. Today, will require time and much contemplation in order to seriously consider His Message of Warning.

Consider His Message of Warning

  • His Message of Warning: No matter how far gone we may think we are; we are not too far to turn to Him for life.
    •  “Now as for you, son of man, say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus you have spoken, saying, “Surely our transgressions and our sins are upon us, and we are rotting away in them; how then can we survive?”’ 11 Say to them, ‘As I live!’ declares the Lord God, ‘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! Why then will you die, O house of Israel?’” (33:10-11).
      • For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life, (Romans 5:10).
  • His Message of Warning: Our own righteous works will not deliver us from our iniquity; it is only as we turn in faith that we will be declared righteous.
    • “And you, son of man, say to your fellow citizens, ‘The righteousness of a righteous man will not deliver him in the day of his transgression, and as for the wickedness of the wicked, he will not stumble because of it in the day when he turns from his wickedness; whereas a righteous man will not be able to live by his righteousness on the day when he commits sin,’”  (33:12).
      • Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. 5 But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness, (Romans 4:4-5).
  • His Message of Warning: Do not trust in our own righteousness; for the righteous will live by faith.
    • “When I say to the righteous he will surely live, and he so trusts in his righteousness that he commits iniquity, none of his righteous deeds will be remembered; but in that same iniquity of his which he has committed he will die,” (33:13).
      • For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith, (Romans 1:17).
  • His Message of Warning: Faith will be demonstrated in repentance; and will be followed by actions that are compatible with our professed faith.
    • But when I say to the wicked, ‘You will surely die,’ and he turns from his sin and practices justice and righteousness, 15 if a wicked man restores a pledge, pays back what he has taken by robbery, walks by the statutes which ensure life without committing iniquity, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 16 None of his sins that he has committed will be remembered against him. He has practiced justice and righteousness; he shall surely live,” (33:14-16).
      • For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead, (James 2:26).
  • His Message of Warning: Our heritage is not passed down by our ancestors; it is God’s gift to individuals who receive and respond to His Truth in faith.
    • Then the word of the Lord came to me saying, 24 “Son of man, they who live in these waste places in the land of Israel are saying, ‘Abraham was only one, yet he possessed the land; so to us who are many the land has been given as a possession.’ 25 Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “You eat meat with the blood in it, lift up your eyes to your idols as you shed blood. Should you then possess the land? 26 You rely on your sword, you commit abominations and each of you defiles his neighbor’s wife. Should you then possess the land?”’” (33:23-25).
      • For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith, (Romans 4:13).
  • His Message of Warning: Believe that He will bring His Warning to pass; and when He does, there will be no denying that He is the Lord.
    • “I will make the land a desolation and a waste, and the pride of her power will cease; and the mountains of Israel will be desolate so that no one will pass through. 29 Then they will know that I am the Lord, when I make the land a desolation and a waste because of all their abominations which they have committed,” (33:28-29).
      • These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful, (Revelation 17:14).
  • His Message of Warning: Do not be merely hearers of His Word; we are to prove our faith by practicing His Truth.
    • They come to you as people come, and sit before you as My people and hear your words, but they do not do them, for they do the lustful desires expressed by their mouth, and their heart goes after their gain. 32 Behold, you are to them like a sensual song by one who has a beautiful voice and plays well on an instrument; for they hear your words but they do not practice them. (33:31-32).
      • But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; 24 for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. 25 But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does, (James 1:22-25).
  • His Message of Warning: He will prove His Message of Warning spoken by His True Prophet when He brings it to pass.
    • “So when it comes to pass—as surely it will—then they will know that a prophet has been in their midst.” (33:33).
      • But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest said to Him, “I adjure You by the living God, that You tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God.” 64 Jesus said to him, “You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven,” (Matthew 26:63-64).

How do we respond to His Message of Warning?

Perhaps you’ve heard Him described as the God of second chances. But it is blatantly obvious from our time in the prophets, He is the God of countless chances. But the truth is, if we continue to ignore His Message of Warning, the day is coming when we will run out of chances.

Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, Today if you hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts as when they provoked Me…”
(Hebrews 3:7-8).

If you have any doubt today whether you have heeded His Message of Warning, please go back over the verses listed above. Remember, He is the immutable, unchanging God and His heart for those who are lost in their sin has not changed.

Say to them, ‘As I live!’ declares the Lord God, ‘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! Why then will you die, O house of Israel?’” (3:11).

His heart of love for those who have made themselves His enemies gave His only begotten Son, that we would turn from our evil ways and turn to Him to receive eternal life.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life, (John 3:16).

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us, (Romans 5:8).

His Message of Warning is serious because eternity is serious; and when we have received His gift of eternal life, we are to take His Message to the world. Think of it this way: if we had cancer but then discovered the cure for cancer and kept that cure to ourselves, what would that say about our gratitude for our healing and our compassion for our fellow man?

Oh, Lord, please grow in us a heart of gratitude and Your heart of compassion for those who are lost and dying in their sin, that we would spend our lives as Your watchmen, seeking always to be ambassadors in fervent appeal to those You have placed in our lives. Lord please use us to boldly speak Your Truth in love, that others would heed Your Message of Warning and be reconciled to You through faith in Christ.

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God, (2 Corinthians 5:20).

Let’s Grow Together!

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