1 And He said to me, “Son of man, stand on your feet, and I will speak to you.” 2 Then the Spirit entered me when He spoke to me, and set me on my feet; and I heard Him who spoke to me. 3 And He said to me: “Son of man, I am sending you to the children of Israel, to a rebellious nation that has rebelled against Me; they and their fathers have transgressed against Me to this very day.
[The prophecy of Ezekiel also covers the Babylonian captivity. Chapter one begins with his vision where he sees 4 living creatures similar to the living creatures seen by Isaiah but Ezekiel sees their faces so his description is somewhat different. He also sees the wheel-within-a-wheel, and the glory of the Lord himself. The judgment against Judah had already begun but Ezekiel was still going to offer individuals the opportunity to repent. Ezekiel’s prophecy is directed toward Jerusalem and God warns him these people were rebellious, setting his expectations low for revival.]
4 For they are impudent and stubborn children. I am sending you to them, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD.’ 5 As for them, whether they hear or whether they refuse—for they are a rebellious house—yet they will know that a prophet has been among them. 6 “And you, son of man, do not be afraid of them nor be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns are with you and you dwell among scorpions; do not be afraid of their words or dismayed by their looks, though they are a rebellious house. 7 You shall speak My words to them, whether they hear or whether they refuse, for they are rebellious.
[God continues to complain about their stubborn nature (he has been sending them prophets for decades) but God keeps the message coming and this time makes his appeal to individuals, making it clear each one has the opportunity to repent. His message is simple “Thus says the Lord God (or sovereign Lord)”. No matter how they respond, give the message.]
8 But you, son of man, hear what I say to you. Do not be rebellious like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you.”
9 Now when I looked, there was a hand stretched out to me; and behold, a scroll of a book was in it. 10 Then He spread it before me; and there was writing on the inside and on the outside, and written on it were lamentations and mourning and woe.
[Since this opportunity to repent was for individuals, Ezekiel needed to accept it himself before he could give it out. God said “eat what I give you” and he hands him a scroll. God wanted him to take it all in, fully absorb it, so when it comes time to preach it, he could preach with conviction. This was not a happy message, lamentations of loss, mournings of death, and warning of punishment and woe.]
7 “So you, son of man: I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me. 8 When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you shall surely die!’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. 9 Nevertheless if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul.
[God made Ezekiel the watchman. The watchman stands guard at the gate, if he sees danger coming he sounds the alarm. God says if he sees wickedness and does not warn the wicked, then their blood is on his hands. But if you warn the wicked and they choose not to repent, then they are judged but the watchman is innocent. We should be more afraid of God’s judgment, than of offending someone who needs to be warned. Everyone needs forgiveness. If life without God had the same outcome as life with there would be no need to warn anyone.
2 Corinthians 5:11 Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men…. But understand we are never responsible for the decisions others make. We are only responsible to carry God’s message. Whether people accept it or not is up to them.]
10 “Therefore you, O son of man, say to the house of Israel: ‘Thus you say, “If our transgressions and our sins lie upon us, and we pine away in them, how can we then live?”’ 11 Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord GOD, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’ 12 “Therefore you, O son of man, say to the children of your people: ‘The righteousness of the righteous man shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression; as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall because of it in the day that he turns from his wickedness; nor shall the righteous be able to live because of his righteousness in the day that he sins.’
[The Lord says never give up hope. Even if you have sinned in the past, you can still repent now and not die. The past doesn’t matter, only the present. Likewise those with a history of righteousness can’t rely on their past righteousness to save them when they sin. Only repentance brings deliverance. God will judge but he has no “pleasure in the death of the wicked”.
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
Each of us has a deliberate choice to make, to follow God or not. Sin has consequences, but so does silence.]
2 Corinthians 5
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
[God provided for our righteousness through Christ, and gave us the “ministry of reconciliation”. He made us his ambassadors to the lost world. Whether or not they receive the message is their decision. Whether or not they hear it from us, is our decision.]