In our five-part series covering Ezekiel 33:1-20 this week, we have been learning that God called Ezekiel to be a Watchman Prophet for Israel. Likewise, we Christians are called to be watchmen for the people in our lives. As I type that, I wonder if it comes across as a bit creepy. Watching people? What gives Christians the right to watch people? Are we better than everyone, and so God wants us to watch out for them? No, not at all. In fact, the opposite is true. Watchmen watch starting from a place of humility, from a place of realizing our utter need of God. It is only when we place our trust in him, depending on him, that we can begin to be watchmen and women. God wants people to be watchmen because he loves all, and he wants all people to trust in him, because that is in their best interest. God’s desire to be in relationship with us is not stemming from some kind of inadequacy on God’s part, but because of the overflowing love that God has for us. So he invites watchmen and women to participate with him in the reaching out to others so that all might know and live in his love. But what does a watchman do or say? We can learn more about our role by examining what God told Ezekiel about his role.
In Ezekiel 33, verses 10-11, God says to Ezekiel, “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?’.”
In verses 10-11, the people of Israel recognize the heaviness of their sin. Not everyone will admit to that. It seems to me that most people see their lives very differently, especially when things are generally going well. When there is enough money for food and pleasure, when the bills are paid, it is very hard to see life as other than good.
But Israel was at a very low point. The armies of Babylon were back, about to destroy Jerusalem. It was a crisis moment, and in crisis moments we tend to take stock of our lives. Could be a death, a job loss, a health or relationship crisis. In those moments we wonder if we could or should have lived differently. Over the last two years, the Covid pandemic has caused numerous people to think about their lives, and they haven’t been thrilled with what they saw. Millions are quitting their jobs, seeking something different. Watchmen and women help people take stock of their lives.
In the previous post, I suggested that, as a watchman for the people in your life, you might consider making a list of their names and begin praying for them on a regular basis. Pray again for the people on your list. Pray that the Holy Spirit would give them a “Babylon Moment” where they feel the heaviness of their sin.
But do not pray that all that will happen is that they feel bad! Pray that their sin drives them to reach out to God!
What God tells Ezekiel to say in verse 11 is what we can say to the people for whom we are watchmen.
God wants people to turn away from sin, turn toward him, and be saved!
The message of verse 11 is a wonderful thing to share with people:
“God loves you! Turn to him.”