August 20 – Today’s Readings – Ezekiel 1-3 and Psalms 50
Ezekiel 2:3-7 reads, “He said: “Son of man, I am sending you to the Israelites, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against me; they and their fathers have been in revolt against me to this very day. The people to whom I am sending you are obstinate and stubborn. Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says.’ And whether they listen or fail to listen—for they are a rebellious house—they will know that a prophet has been among them. And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them or their words. Do not be afraid, though briers and thorns are all around you and you live among scorpions. Do not be afraid of what they say or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious house. You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen, for they are rebellious.”
Ezekiel is obviously a book that is not easily understood. There are sections that are very clear and obvious – but much of what we read today provides only an “image or mirror” of things that are not of this earth and will only be understood in the heavenly realm.
What is obvious however is that God gave Ezekiel a shocking vision. The reason? Probably to impress on him that this really was the Lord dealing with him. The message was also clear. God was putting a burden on Ezekiel to speak to a rebellious people on His behalf. The Lord did not leave it at that however – he told Ezekiel that if he did not speak as he was instructed, he would be held accountable concerning the people’s sins.
I’m wondering if this message of being “a watchman” does not relate to us in certain ways. When we see a lost world or a wayward friend making choices leading to separation with God – and do not speak to them in the Name of the Lord, will we too not have to answer to the Lord for our lack of speaking up – for not encouraging these people to change their minds? Indeed, the Gospel needs to be preached to all mankind so that all nations can see the goodness of God and so they can come to Christ. On one level or another, we become “watchmen” in our world. We must be willing to speak when God instructs us to – and we must close our mouths when God instructs us to. This is what it means to be entrusted with the very life-giving message of Christ. I encourage you to be led by the Spirit this week in your conversations and actions so that those who come in contact with you also come into contact with the Living God.
1. If we too are living amongst an obstinate and stubborn people, how should we conduct ourselves as a testimony?
2. In which ways are you a “watchman” over the people in your life?