Year 3 Day 41
Read - Ezekiel 3:16-21
Message - Alan Burke
On a recent visit I glanced out the window and noticed that the next door neighbour of the person I was visiting was installing CCTV cameras around their property. What struck me was that this house was at the bottom of a quiet cul-de-sac. When I passed remark and was then told that the individual I was with had never locked their door since they moved in in the 80’s and the new neighbours are just a menace and everyone thinks so. Technology has transformed so many things, from shopping, to home security and national security. In Ezekiel day the early warning system was not motion detectors with infra red CCTV cameras that connect to your phone as long as you have an internet connection, it was a man who would have sat watch on the city walls or a high tower.
It is now seven days since the wonderful vision of the Glory of God that had caused Ezekiel to fall face down, overwhelmed with the holiness of God. As the LORD speaks, again addressing Ezekiel as Son of Man, the Lord tells him that he has made him watchman. A watchman as name suggests watched, either on the city walls or high tower. They were to look out for danger, a fire in the city, an enemy approached what ever it was. When their was danger, their task was to do all that they could to rouse the inhabitants of that place, to try and get them to take action, to wake them from their slumber. They were to sound the trumpet if they saw danger, a watchman was the early warning system, warning of danger. In effect the watchman was in charge of the safety of the entire population. If they failed to carry out their task, failed to warn the inhabitants they were personally responsible for any loss and liable to judgement for it. The inhabitants would still face the consequences but blame lay at the watchman’s feet.
Well Ezekiel was a watchman, his task is to warn that the Lord God was bringing judgment upon this rebellious people for their sin. His task is clear, and just like a watchman on the city wall or a tower who tries, his responsibility is not for the response to the message of warning, no he is only responsible for the task that he has been given. Ezekiel is responsible for his own faithfulness, he is responsible for the task not the response, he was to preach of the coming of judgment of God and if the people didn’t heed it then it was not his fault, it was their own fault. But if Ezekiel failed to do what he had been entrusted with, if he failed to warn the people, if he took the easy option and did not preach of the judgement that was coming, if he failed to preach against their evil then he would be accountable, just as the watchman on the city walls. Just like those inhabitants of a city, if the watchman failed in their task to rouse the people, the people of God that rebellious people would still face the consequences. If Ezekiel didn’t warn them they would still face the judgement of God.
Likewise today, the task of the preacher is to preach the word of God, to preach the whole council of God and the judgement that awaits those who do not repent and believe. If the preacher fails in his task, if he chooses to take the easy way out, if he never warns of the judgement that awaits sinners, they will still be held accountable for this before God. That is why in James we are told; “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.” (Jam 3:1). If the preacher has taken the easy option and said nothing about sin, hell, the need for repentance and belief, this is no defence for those who were not warned before almighty God.
Those in the pulpit are those to be standing on the watchtower, warning of what comes, they keep watch for the safety of all, even when it is hard for us to hear it is better for us to hear than to be in ignorance of it. Pray daily for your watchman, for your teacher, pray for me, pray for Scott or who ever on the Lord’s day will fill the pulpit, that they would preach and warn weekly of the coming judgement that awaits sinners and that in Christ we may escape that judgement. Pray for those who come under the preached word that they would respond in faith and repentance and pray that you yourself may have a teachable heart.
Q43 What is the preface to the ten commandments?
The preface to the ten commandments is in these words, I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. (Exod. 20:2)