Ezekiel 32 [Read]
Ezekiel 33 [Read]
1 Peter 1 [Read]
The news of the fall of Jerusalem came to Ezekiel in Babylon (Ezek 33:21), and the word of the LORD came to the prophet again. It’s a tumultuous time for the people in exile, and the uncertainty of their future loomed greatly in their hearts. With such background in mind, we may then observe the following things.
First, the prophet is a watchman called for a time like this to be the mouth piece of the LORD. “I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me” (33:7). The darker the hours, the more urgent is the need for a watchman. His duty is not to ease people’s mind, but to truthfully report what he hears from above. Although the watchman is chosen for the people, he answers to God who gives messages to him. In fact, he has no choice but to proclaim such unpopular message. Otherwise, the blood will be on his hand (33:8).
Second, the purpose of such warning is to save souls. “Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, O house of Israel?” (33:11). The tone of such expression shows the true will of the LORD, who takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked (33:11). God’s judgments may sound harsh sometimes, but he does not enjoy seeing anyone perish, even the ones who are constantly rebellious against his declared word. This is the God we trust, same in OT and NT, and he is always calling people to turn toward him.
Third, self-righteousness is never tolerated by the righteous God. If the righteous man does evil by trusting in his own righteousness, then nothing he did will be remembered (33:13). No one can be righteous based on his own deeds before God, for our righteousness is like “filthy rags” in God’s eye (Isa 64:6). It’s not a matter of losing our salvation through occasional sins, but a question of whether such “righteous” person truly knows the only one who can grant salvation.
Finally, the word of God will not be received by all, even though they may sit before the prophet to hear it (33:31). The presence does not guarantee a willingness to listen, and hearing without practicing shall produce no God-pleasing fruit. Let this be a solemn reminder for all of us today.
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