7“Now, son of man, I am making you a watchman for the people of Israel. Therefore, listen to what I say and warn them for me. 8If I announce that some wicked people are sure to die and you fail to tell them to change their ways, then they will die in their sins, and I will hold you responsible for their deaths. 9But if you warn them to repent and they don’t repent, they will die in their sins, but you will have saved yourself.
The Watchman’s Message
10“Son of man, give the people of Israel this message: You are saying, ‘Our sins are heavy upon us; we are wasting away! How can we survive?’ 11As surely as I live, says the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of wicked people. I only want them to turn from their wicked ways so they can live. Turn! Turn from your wickedness, O people of Israel! Why should you die?
12“Son of man, give your people this message: The righteous behavior of righteous people will not save them if they turn to sin, nor will the wicked behavior of wicked people destroy them if they repent and turn from their sins. 13When I tell righteous people that they will live, but then they sin, expecting their past righteousness to save them, then none of their righteous acts will be remembered. I will destroy them for their sins. 14And suppose I tell some wicked people that they will surely die, but then they turn from their sins and do what is just and right. 15For instance, they might give back a debtor’s security, return what they have stolen, and obey my life-giving laws, no longer doing what is evil. If they do this, then they will surely live and not die. 16None of their past sins will be brought up again, for they have done what is just and right, and they will surely live.
17“Your people are saying, ‘The Lord isn’t doing what’s right,’ but it is they who are not doing what’s right. 18For again I say, when righteous people turn away from their righteous behavior and turn to evil, they will die. 19But if wicked people turn from their wickedness and do what is just and right, they will live. 20O people of Israel, you are saying, ‘The Lord isn’t doing what’s right.’ But I judge each of you according to your deeds.”
What is a “watchman?” I think that is a valid question these days. Is every believer, man and women, called to be a watchman? Are only those in leadership called? Are there only a few even among the leaders of the church universal who are called? I am of the mind that each of us in our own individual contexts are called to watch over the people and the environments that we have been charged with. In other words, yes – all believers in some way, are watchmen.
That in itself is a good question to discuss, but the passage goes on to speak about sin and repentance and the dynamic between the two. What I mean is this: We read in Romans 7 and 8 last Sunday that each follower of Christ is called to enter a struggle between the spiritual and the physical; between the Good of God and the evil of this world. We live with redeemed natures, covered by the righteousness of Christ, in very fragile clay jars.
18For again I say, when righteous people turn away from their righteous behavior and turn to evil, they will die. 19But if wicked people turn from their wickedness and do what is just and right, they will live.
Ezekiel wrote this prophecy between 590 and 570 before Christ walked the earth – but the message is the same that Jesus Preached and the Apostles shared throughout the world; and it is this… If we seek the Lord first in all things, we will be, and stay, in relationship with Him. If we do not, or if we turn away and renounce His name, we will not be in relationship with Him.
We are free moral agents, as is The Almighty. Yahweh loves and seeks to save because He chooses. We turn to Yahweh, we repent and we accept the gift that is offered because we choose to. There is no coercion in perfect love. We love because He first loved us. We forgive because He forgave. We seek Him always because He sought us first. Amen
We know that there are many physical, emotional, and spiritual needs and I would like you all to take the time right now to intentionally pray. Just take the next 5 minutes, be silent, and pray.