Restoration to God through His Loving Rebuke
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 3:16-21, New American Standard
I want to start off this article today to say this: I know I'm going over one of the books written towards Israel, but there are things that apply to the Church as well. John gives us this word that when we sin, by confessing we have Jesus Christ is faithful and just to forgive us. And that's the thing, over and over again in the New Testament we read over and over again to not follow after our previous lifestyle that we once lived in before Jesus offered us salvation.
We read, "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.” Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:1-6, New King James).
But I'm already way ahead of myself, too. Paul tells us, "What then? Are we better than they? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin. As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands...Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin" (Romans 3:9-20, shortened).
As a people who follow Christ, we have this command from Christ Himself: "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age" (Matthew 28:18-20, Berean Study, bold mine).
Now, I wonder who was speaking to Ezekiel when He tells him, "Son of man, go to the house of Israel and speak with My words to them. For you are not being sent to a people of unintelligible speech or difficult language, but to the house of Israel, nor to many peoples of unintelligible speech or difficult language, whose words you cannot understand. But I have sent you to them who should listen to you" (Ezekiel 3:4-6, New American Standard).
If we go the practical route and say Jesus is talking to Ezekiel as we also see He gives the command to the disciples as well to "Go and make disciples," which makes sense, we get the picture He--meaning Jesus Christ, before being incarnate--always spoke to His servants on the Father's behalf. We get the overall idea that God does not delight in some sick and perverse pleasure in seeing people come to harm. Rather, we see it played out that, "The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9, Holman Christian Standard).
However, we can see that some, not all will listen and heed the words of God. "Blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey it" (Luke 11:28). Surely, if we listen and obey the words of God not only do we prolong our days, but it shows that we truly lean on God and His ways. I desire at all times to listen and give Him what is due to Him. And that's where we see the application of Ezekiel 3. It is a call to return to God, to confess we have sinned; to humble ourselves and to live rightly before Him. Ought we all to give God what is right?
Father, You are so holy, and I am so impure. Rescue me from the miry pit of sin and death! I no longer have any desire of it. I long to live for You; to declare Your ways to those who are perishing. I desire for Your name to be known, for Your deeds to fill this earth. As You tell us in Your word, "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not My ways. For as heaven is higher than earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts" (Isaiah 55:8-9, Holman Christian Standard). Save me from my sins and declare me worthy of You and Your graciousness. I am unworthy to be called Your Son. But I thank and praise You for the gift of life Christ poured out at the cross so I may have life. I shall surely dwell in Your presence all my days so long as I keep right in You. I pray this in Jesus' holy and precious name. Amen.