Why God Warns
By, Benjamin H. Liles
"At the end of seven days the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, I have appointed you a watchman to the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from My mouth, warn them from Me. When I say to the wicked, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to warn the wicked from his wicked way that he may live, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand."
"Yet if you have warned the wicked and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered yourself. Again, when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I place an obstacle before him, he will die; since you have not warned him, he shall die in his sin, and his righteous deeds which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood I will require at your hand. However, if you have warned the righteous man that the righteous should not sin and he does not sin, he shall surely live because he took warning; and you have delivered yourself" (Ezekiel 33:16-21, New American Standard).
I know I have written numerous articles on the subject of God's messages of warning, but why does He warn to begin with? Is it because He sees us doing something we don't? Is it because He doesn't love us? Or is it because He sees something wrong in our hearts we need to fix? First, He warns us not because He doesn't love us, but because He does. What parent doesn't warn or scold their child if they do wrong? Does it mean the parent hates their child, or is it because they don't want their child to be in harm's way? This is the reason for this article.
God in His love toward us wants us to be able to hear His voice. His desire is that we become His people more and more, each and every day. It is to help us grow, to guide us in and to Him. It is also because there is certain activity we have in our hearts He needs to get out of us. Let me ask you this: if you were a gardener and you saw a tree that was perfectly healthy having rotten and dead limbs, would you leave those attached, or would you prune the dead parts off?
A good gardener prunes back his trees, getting rid of the dead branches, cutting the bad parts off. In the same way God's word is this way with us. "Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually" (Genesis 6:5). This doesn't mean our thoughts and hearts are occasionally sin sick. It says "the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." If you say you love God, would you harbor evil in your heart all the time? Not at all.
In this same manner God provides good teachers who reach out to others who fear and obey God to help show the people how far off, how far away they are from God's will. His will for us is that we have eternal life with Him. But how can we do that if all we think in our hearts are evil continuously? I sin every day. Even if it's a small thing, it's still sin and it has to be dealt with. I can choose to deal with it and be right with God or I can harbor it in my heart, allowing God to deal with it, and then it gets a bit harder on me to handle. I'd rather humble myself before God, allowing Him to show me in His love, than wait for a warning from Him. But that's me.
A good messenger, a good teacher, listens to God and allows God's message not only enter his life, showing him what's wrong, but to give that message to others as well so they can come to God in like manner. It is a humbling experience. And done in the right way can bring His child and the entire assembly under Him and His Spirit. It helps everyone when things are dealt with and His word lives out in everyone's life. God warns us so we don't fall away. The problem in the Old Testament is that the system Israel was under wasn't a permanent solution.
When someone sinned, they had to bring a sacrifice: a goat, a sheep, turtle doves or pigeons to be offered up to atone for sin. Under the New Testament, which belongs to the Church, we have a permanent solution. Christ died for us in our place so we are no longer separated from the love of God. Where under the Old Testament a sacrifice was needed daily, monthly, and yearly, under the New Jesus gives us a permanent way where we no longer have to keep offering up sacrifices. John says this: "But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness" (1 John 1:9, New Living Translation).
When He warns us of wrongs we are doing, the best thing we can do is not simply humble ourselves, but confess the wrongs committed. The rest is His to do. And with what John says, "He is faithful and just to forgive our sins; to cleanse us from all wickedness." It doesn't mean we go back and do the wrong, to keep on in sin. It means our lifestyle shows we hate the sin, so we'll keep confronting it in our lives so we are more like Him. It's the reason God tells us, "Be holy as I am holy" (Leviticus 11:44; 1 Peter 1:16). His word is given to cleanse and purify us. This is why He warns us. We are His. We need to live it as well.
Father, I thank You for how holy and just You are. I realize I cannot keep Your word perfectly. I can keep giving You my best daily. I may not always be at my best, but You are always at Your best. It is why I keep putting my hope, faith and rest in You. I ask that You help me, that Your guiding hand always moves me to a deeper place in You. I want more of You in my life. I want my life to show that You and Your Son, Jesus, are evident in me to and towards others. I pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.