God asked Ezekiel to take on the important role of the watchman for the people of Israel. It was his responsibility to sound the alarm alerting them of God’s warning.
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. Ezekiel 33:7
A watchman in the Old Testament held a very important position. He would climb to the top of a high tower. There, he would keep watch in all directions.
If he spotted an enemy closing in on their city his responsibility was to sound the alarm. Thus giving the people an opportunity to ready themselves to prepare for their defense.
Then if those who hear the alarm refuse to take action, it is their own fault if they die. They heard the alarm but ignored it, so the responsibility is theirs. Ezekiel 33:4-5
On the other hand, if the watchman shirked his responsibility he was in big trouble.
But if the watchman sees the enemy coming and doesn’t sound the alarm to warn the people, he is responsible for their captivity. They will die in their sins, but I will hold the watchman responsible for their deaths. Ezekiel 33:6
Ezekiel’s Watchman’s Message
God called the prophet Ezekiel to warn Israel of their sin. This warning came because of the wickedness of the nation. God also gave a warning to the watchman himself.
If 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. Ezekiel 33:8
So, to get himself off the hook, Ezekiel just needed to sound the alarm to warn the people.
But if you warn them to repent and they don’t repent, they will die in their sins, but you will have saved yourself. Ezekiel 33:9
This warning was concerning to the people. Especially the ones who were guilty of sin. They wondered if death was their only destiny.
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? Ezekiel 33:10
God told them in the next verse that He didn’t want them to die. He only wanted them to turn from their sin.
As 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? Ezekiel 33:11
Are You Ready to Sound the Alarm?
It sounds like the scenario of Ezekiel’s day has not changed much at all for our day. God called Ezekiel to be the watchman. The question is, what about today, who are the watchmen?
Are they the gifts Christ gave to the church: apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastors and teachers? Yes, but not because of their office.
Their jobs consist of encouragement and promoting unity within the body. According to what Peter said, however, the responsibility of the watchman rests on us all.
In your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. 1 Peter 3:15
Giving your testimony is a great way to sound the alarm. Instead of giving a warning of the coming enemy, you can offer eternal life, instead.
Checkout out these related posts on warning.
Lord thank you for enabling the church as today’s watchman. Enable each of us to sound the alarm through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Take the time to read the entire chapter of Ezekiel 33.
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