Warnings – to both the messenger and the recipients

By | 4 October 2009

Ezekiel 3:5-7 “For you are not being sent to a people of unintelligible speech or difficult language, but to the house of Israel, nor to many peoples of unintelligible speech or difficult language, whose words you cannot understand. But I have sent you to them who should listen to you; yet the house of Israel will not be willing to listen to you, since they are not willing to listen to Me. Surely the whole house of Israel is stubborn and obstinate.”

I’ve just begun rereading-through the prophets. I started Ezekiel today, and in the initial monologue from God to his chosen messenger, Ezekiel, are these striking words!

As if to ward-off any unwillingness on the part of the unsuspecting Ezekiel (like Moses tried to argue with God), God tells him not to worry – His words will be with him, and He will protect him from the rebellious house of Israel who won’t heed his words.

The house of Israel should listen because it’s a prophet who has been among them. And yet they’re so hardened, that even the warnings, exhortations, and condemnations of the Lord Almighty will be ignored!

How many times has God sent to you and I messengers with His words that we’ve ignored? I can say it’s at least in the hundreds for me – all those Sundays I was in church, ignoring my Sunday School teachers, the pastor, parents, concerned church members.

Years of not caring, and sometimes willful refusal to listen. How fortunate I am that God is patient with us! I wasn’t converted till sometime in or after highschool – my mid to late teens.

But Israel – God’s CHOSEN people! Israel – the nation for whom God destroyed pagan cultures, nations, and peoples so they could have an inheritance promised to them. That Israel. The Israel who was in captivity in Babylon because of their sins was going to ignore yet another faithful messenger God was sending them.

God told Ezekiel he’d be ignored – but he still had to deliver his message. We know Ezekiel was faithful to his calling, because it has been recorded for us. But I shudder to think of the souls condemned who wilfully ignored and refused to listen to him when God Himself sent him to them!

God is patient, indeed – but His patience is not forever. Eventually, He gives those up who will not listen. Even when He knows they willnot listen, though, He still sends messengers to them pleading that they repent and turn to God! Israel was going to be liberated from their captivity in another couple decades, but how many souls were lost to eternity because they wouldn’t heed the Lord’s message?

3:17-19 “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. When I say to the wicked, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to warn the wicked from his wicked way that he may live, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. Yet if you have warned the wicked and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered yourself.”

Ezekiel was God’s warner in his day. Today we’ve been given pastors, teachers, godly parents, and friends – all of whom are trying to warn those around them of God’s coming judgement. Ezekiel was absolved of the blood of his countrymen because he gave them the warnings from God.

Are we taking heed to that warning issued to Ezekiel today? Are we engaging those around us, warning the of what is coming if they do not repent? Are we trying to talk to our neighbors, family members, friends, coworkers? Are we sharing the wonderful news of redemption through the sacrifice of Jesus? Or are we hoarding that news all to ourselves? Will we squeak into heaven when we die because we’ve thrown our sins on Christ, but nothing more? Or will be triumphantly presenting our captured souls before the Lamb – showing Him that we have been faithful servants, reinvesting what has been entrusted to us for the benefit and furtherance of the kingdom?

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