The Words of the Prophet
My assignment in Scripture interpretation and application brought me to an Old Testament passage that I can’t seem to shake off. I want to go on to the next lesson, but I know it is best to stay and meditate a while.
These words written thousands of years ago resonate in my heart today. The time was during the reign of Jehoiachin; the place was the kingdom of Judah. Ezekiel was faithful to the call of God; as a prophet, he spoke the hard things that explained the fulfillment of God’s promise to Israel if they were to turn away from Him. Judgment came via the Babylonian takeover, and Ezekiel was exiled from Judah along with most of his countrymen.
Although these words detailed a different time and place, there rings a tone of familiarity. Read the passage out of Ezekiel 33 and see if you identify with the warning pronounced in the words of the prophet.
The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, speak to your countrymen and say to them: ‘When I bring the sword against a land, and the people of the land choose one of their men and make him their watchman, and he sees the sword coming against the land and blows the trumpet to warn the people, then if anyone hears the trumpet but does not take warning and the sword comes and takes his life, his blood will be on his own head. Since he heard the sound of the trumpet but did not take warning, his blood will be on his own head. If he had taken warning, he would have saved himself. But it the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes the life of one of them, that man will be taken away because of his sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for his blood.’
Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from Me. When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade him from his ways, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the wicked man to turn from his ways and he does not do so, he will die for his sin, but you will have saved yourself.
Son of man, say to the house of Israel, ‘This is what you are saying: “Our offenses and sins weigh us down, and we are wasting away because of them. How then can we live?”‘ Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, O house of Israel?'”
- Do you identify with the prophet in that there is a dire warning to give?
- Who or what currently represents the sword that may come (or has already come) against the land?
- Is there a spokesman speaking the warning? Has the symbolic trumpet been blown?
- Death is a common theme in our world’s current events. What is God’s heart concerning those who die apart from a knowledge of His salvation?
- Do you sense a responsibility to speak about the days in which we live?