Year 3 Day 43
Read - Ezekiel 3:16-21
Message - Alan Burke
Are you bad or good? Naughty or nice? Ok it might be a little early for making a list and checking it twice but there are two categories often used, two groups, classes, camps that people can be easily grouped into, bad or good, naughty or nice. I have another and it is here in these verses, two categories, two classes of people, they are the wicked and the righteous. These terms encompass all people everywhere, and here as Ezekiel is to warn them, he has the same task no matter which categories, classes or camp they fall into, the same warning comes to all. His task whether they are righteous or wicked is to tell them of what the Lord has said. The same message comes to both, and there is two potential outcomes.
Those who are wicked are those who do not hear or listen, the wicked are those who have not responded to the word of God in faith. They can be those who are clearly wicked as well as those who have the appearance of righteousness but then do evil and with a stumbling block in the way they fail to overcome it, the wicked do not preserver to the end.
The righteous here are those who take the warning, the righteous are those who hear and listen, the righteous are those who have faith in the word of God, in God himself. The righteous are those who do not only start out well but even in the midst of failure they continue on, they heed the warning, they repent. Those who are righteous will indeed respond and listen to the word of the Lord that comes though Ezekiel. For all who hear and respond to the word of God here will live, and those who do not, who ignore the message, who ignore the word, who do not respond in faith and belief then they will die.
The call is ‘hear, respond and live’ or ‘ignore and perish’, that is the option open to the people whom Ezekiel preaches to. The life and death speaks not merely physical life and death but also spiritual life and death. Think back to the Garden, God promised death to Adam and Eve for disobedience and life for obedience. In their disobedience as they at from the tree of knowledge of good and evil the consequences was immediately, first and foremost spiritual death, then physical death came later. Adam and Eve may have been physically alive after the fall but they were cut off from God, no longer had they communion with him, they were effectively dead waiting for death.
Whereas those who Ezekiel calls, those whom he preaches to can have life, spiritual life, they will die, just as we will all die physically but all who hear and respond to the word of God although they die physically, they will live eternally with him, they will surely live, v21, the righteous will surely live because they taken heed of the warning.
Ezekiel’s task as watchman is to take the word of the Lord to the people, the warning is to all the people, not just to those who are wicked but those who appear to be righteous. Ezekiel’s task is not to change their heart only to proclaim the word of God. Here in these verse the root of the problem is sin, sin leads to death. Romans 3:23 reminds us all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God, Romans 6:23 reminds us how the wages, the result of sin is death but the free gift of God is external life in Christ Jesus who died in the place of all who have faith. Here the people of God, those rebellious people can either choose life or face the death that comes to all and the pains of hell forever if they fail to choose the way of life. This is the choice before us, life or death, and in Christ we can have life and have it abundantly, life eternal (Jn 10:10).
Q45 Which is the first commandment?
The first commandment is, Thou shalt have no other gods before me. (Exod. 20:3)