Ezekiel's Call

I have been studying the book of Ezekiel for the past several weeks in my personal bible study.  It is a book that I have been intimidated in studying, but I am glad I finally got the chance to dig into the book and learn what God is trying to reveal through His prophet from many years ago.  However, I am glad that I have waited until studying almost all of the Old Testament before I chose to study this one.  Honestly, I knew NOTHING about this book other than the "dry bones" story, and even then, the details were very limited.  There is so much more in the book than just that story!

The first thing from this book that really gripped me was God's calling and commission on him in Chapters 2-3.  It really got to me and I couldn't stop thinking about it.  Ezekiel was called to go to the house of Israel and speak with His words to them.  God tried to prepare him that even though He was not sending him to people of unintelligible speech or difficult language, but to the house of Israel....God's chosen people.  Yet, they will be unwilling to listen to him since they are stubborn and obstinate. 

Here's the part that really got me.  In 3:17-27, God tells Ezekiel that He has appointed him a watchman to the house of Israel and whenever he hears a word from the Lord, he is to warn them.   He is to speak to the wicked in the way that he should live.  If that wicked man chooses not to turn to the way of life (salvation), then that man shall die in his iniquity.  BUT, if Ezekiel does not warn him or speak to him, then his blood will be required at his (Ezekiel's) hand.  If he has done his part and warned the wicked, then he has delivered himself. 

He gives the same command about a righteous man who turns away from righteousness and is committing iniquity.  God told Ezekiel that he was to go and warn that person who has fallen away.  Once again, if he warns them, then he has delivered himself.  If he does not go to the person, then God holds him personally accountable. 

I don't know about everyone else, but I have NEVER heard this story.  I have been to church all my life, but you only get bits and pieces of Scripture in Sunday School and in sermons.  It's just simply not enough.  Studying the Word for myself has changed my life completely and I love to try to encourage others to do the same. 

Anyway, this story shows the seriousness that God had on Ezekiel to share truth to everyone.  It is so serious, in fact, that God shares this message to Ezekiel again later in the book.  God was going to hold him accountable.  This made me think of myself and whether or not God has the same standard for me many years later from Ezekiel's time on this earth.  We are watchmen as well.  The parallel is evangelism, or sharing the gospel to the lost.  It doesn't matter how people respond.  My pastor has said several times that every time you share the gospel with someone, their heart is changing.  Either they reject the gospel and their hearts harden, or their hearts soften and they receive it.  It is just our job to share it.  It's part of God's amazing plan.  He wants believers to share the gospel to the lost.  Otherwise, at the time of our salvation He would just take us immediately to heaven, but He has work for us to do here on earth.   

The message that we share should not just be to the lost according to this passage.  God's charge to Ezekiel included warning the righteous ones who turn to unrighteousness.  We are called to be holy because He is holy, and when God's people are wicked and act just like the unbelieving world, they give unbelievers an incorrect vision of God.  This is a very tricky and delicate matter.  However, many people quote quickly, "Do not judge lest you be judged."  Scripture does say that, and the Word does not contradict itself.  It is found in Matthew 18 on how to deal with a brother (believer) who is sinning.  This should first be bathed in prayer, and the motivation should be not just to point out faults of someone else.  The whole purpose of this is to bring restoration to the person who has gone astray.  This should also be done in love and as gently as possible.  Sometimes it won't be taken well, but other times restoration and repentance occurs.  God just calls us to be obedient in sharing His Word with love to both unbelievers and believers who have gone astray.  It's a matter of life and death eternally.

This account from Ezekiel made me really think about whether or not I have a sense of urgency or concern for others around me that I know are lost.  I have had a reoccurring question run through my mind for the last few months..."What am I doing while I still have my freedom?"   Is it enough?  Am I obedient in all areas? 

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