Ezekiel 3:16-19- Are you a Modern Day Watchman?
I am convinced that we have lost the urgency of spreading the good news of Jesus Christ. I recall a life-transforming moment at the Texas State Fair that proves my own lack of urgency concerning the gospel. A slick-talking salesman took me through their rehearsed speech as they tried to sell me a "balance band." Through some mix of magic, science, and marketing it was supposed to make me more sure-footed. I was skeptical at best but then they demonstrated the product on me and wouldn't ya know it actually worked! They had made a believer out of me! I purchased several units for my multiple balance needs! I then proceeded to tell all of my friends and family. If they gave me enough of their time I even found myself giving a demonstration of the product so they could become a believer just as I did.
The balance band was my good news and my mission was to evangelize the world! As silly as this example seems, it is revealing- when we are passionate about good news we tell everyone who will listen. Yet we often find that Christians, who are sitting on the greatest news of all time, are hesitant to share that Jesus Christ is the way the truth and life, (John 14:6) whoever calls upon his name will be saved. (Romans 10:13)
Where is the disconnect? How can one have such good news and not share? Maybe we don't truly believe in the Day of the Lord when all mankind will have to give account for our deeds? Maybe we think an eternity separated from God couldn't really be "that" bad. (Revelations 6:15-17). Maybe we're not actually burdened with the idea of lost souls.
It was clear that the Old Testament prophet Ezekiel understood the urgency of his message to the people of God. And just in case Ezekiel didn't, God made sure by fully demonstrating to Ezekiel the gravity of his mission.
"Son of man, I have appointed you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you must give them a warning from me. "
A Watchman’s job was to sit up on the tower all through the night and guard the gate. They had a keen eye to spy out any encroaching danger. Their job was to warn the people when danger came. If they fell asleep at their job then the blood of the people was on their hands.
God charges Ezekiel with this great responsibility, "When I say to the wicked, “You will certainly die,” and you do not warn him – you do not speak out to warn the wicked to turn from his wicked lifestyle so that he may live – that wicked person will die for his iniquity, but I will hold you accountable for his death. But as for you, if you warn the wicked and he does not turn from his wicked deed and from his wicked lifestyle, he will die for his iniquity but you will have saved your own life." Ezekiel 3:17-19
In other words, God is reminding Ezekiel of his duty to cry out in the face of danger. He was to warn the Israelites in light of the urgency of God's wrath. If Ezekiel refused to warn his brothern of pending danger the blood would be on his hands, (The Lord would hold Ezekiel accountable for his failure to cry out) however if he executed his duties properly and warned the man and the man still chose wickedness Ezekiel would be innocent.
While the concept of a physical watchman crying out on the city gates has come and gone, the idea that God continues to use us as his mouthpiece to declare God's kingdom is alive and well.
2 Corinthians 5:20 is the most convincing scripture that reinforces our New Testament expression of the watchman-"Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making his plea through us. We plead with you on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to God!" While the language is different the purpose is still the same, God intends to use us as He did Ezekiel to call out to our own brothern with all the urgency that the day of the Lord compels…"Be reconciled to God!"
In medieval times it was customary that a watchman would ring bells to alert the people of a threat. According to recent estimates, there are over 2 billion professing Christians in the world today. If each one of us took seriously our call to be watchmen the ringing of our bells would cumulatively shake the foundations of the earth… and yet we are silent. We watch as societies search for meaning only to devalue into immoral pursuits. We watch as our families crumble and we watch as individuals turn away from the Living God.
Let this serve as a reminder friends,
Ring the bells
For God's sake
Ring the bells
For the sake of our people
Ring the bells
That our hands me be free from blood just as Ezekiel's was.
Ring the bells