Ezekiel 3

Ezekiel 3 Devotional
by Pastor Lawrence

There was no ordinary office of prophet in the Old Testament like there was with the priests. One did not become a prophet due to genealogy or by human promotion. It was a very rare calling that God alone could give and often in the worst of times. It was precisely because the king and the priests along with all the people refused to obey the Word of the Lord that God would suddenly raise up a man out of obscurity to confront God’s people and to rebuke God’s leaders even at their own peril.

In this particular case in the book of Ezekiel, God’s king has already been dethroned, God’s priests have already been humiliated yet God’s people have still not been humbled and obeyed the voice of the Lord even after being taken captive by pagans in a foreign land. Nevertheless, the Lord will keep his covenant with his people and raises up Ezekiel to speak forth his word to these exiles living in Babylon warning them of the judgment to come and holding out hope for those who would turn away from their sin and turn toward God by faith.

This would not be an easy task for Ezekiel in the least. The Lord is sending him to a hardhearted and hardheaded people who are described as “rebellious” six times in this initial revelation. And the primary message that Ezekiel is called to deliver is one of sin, righteousness and the judgment to come, not exactly the type of speech that rebellious people want to hear. His message would be full of lamentation, mourning and woe, the Lord says, and yet Ezekiel must be faithful in declaring “thus says the Lord,” which Ezekiel does over a hundred and seventy times in this book. However the Lord does promise to strengthen Ezekiel for this task and to make him just as hardheaded as his hearers in his determination to confront the sins of this generation.

The one thing that Ezekiel is responsible for is merely to proclaim God’s Word. He is not responsible for how his auditors respond to that word, just as we are not responsible for how others respond to the gospel when we share it with them today. Just as the apostle Paul says in Acts 20:26-27 how he was innocent of everyone’s blood because he did not shrink back from declaring the whole plan of God, so God assures Ezekiel that he will not be held accountable for others sins so long as he warned and rebuked them for their sins. On the other hand, if Ezekiel was fearful and kept silent refusing to warn others of the judgment to come their blood would be on his hands. Surely, the implication is the same for believers today as well.

Just as it is the duty of a weatherman to warn a town of sudden climatic changes in weather patterns that could lead to loss of life, so it is our duty as Christians to warn others of the coming judgment of God upon all the world. The difference is that we have a much better understanding of the gospel than even the prophet Ezekiel had, for he only saw images and foreshadows of the Christ to come, whereas we have received the full revelation of Christ’s incarnation, life, death, resurrection, ascension, reign and return.

Just as God assured Ezekiel to not be afraid and to strengthen his forehead for this very important task, so the Lord has granted us his divine authority over the nations, filled us with his Spirit and promised to go with us as we go and as we speak in his name. Indeed, we all are watchmen and watchwomen in this generation placed in our respective towns to warn people of the judgment to come and to proclaim to them the good news of the coming king. We are not prophets but mere messengers who are called to speak on behalf of Christ himself pleading with this generation to reconcile with God through faith in Jesus Christ. So let us keep awake and be sober that we might faithfully carry out this sacred calling in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation.