Receiving the MessageBro. David Chancellor
3/13/2011 6:00 PM
Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman: If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people; Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul. But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman's hand. So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me. When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.
When God speaks, be quick to hear and do what he shows you.
The first portion is addressed to the prophet. The prophet is responsible to declare God’s word. He was to give the warning so the people could take whatever measures were necessary so as not to be destroyed by the coming destruction.
The gospel is given to warn us of coming judgment, so we can be prepared for it. We will be held responsible for what we do. If we have been given a warning to carry, we need to sound the warning. God will hold us accountable for others’ souls if we don’t carry the message he gave us. Preaching isn’t a vocation to take lightly. It carries great responsibility. The message Ezekiel was given to carry hasn’t changed: God will put judgment on wickedness and sin, but there is mercy now if you will come. (Psalm 139) God knows everything about you and he sends warnings when things aren’t as they ought to be.
The responsibility of the messenger is to give the message God sent. The messenger isn’t to alter the message. The messenger can’t back off from the message.
Therefore, O thou son of man, speak unto the house of Israel; Thus ye speak, saying, If our transgressions and our sins be upon us, and we pine away in them, how should we then live? Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? Therefore, thou son of man, say unto the children of thy people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression: as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall thereby in the day that he turneth from his wickedness; neither shall the righteous be able to live for his righteousness in the day that he sinneth. When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousnesses shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it. Again, when I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; if he turn from his sin, and do that which is lawful and right; If the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed, walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die. None of his sins that he hath committed shall be mentioned unto him: he hath done that which is lawful and right; he shall surely live. Yet the children of thy people say, The way of the Lord is not equal: but as for them, their way is not equal. When the righteous turneth from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, he shall even die thereby. But if the wicked turn from his wickedness, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall live thereby. Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. O ye house of Israel, I will judge you every one after his ways.
“If our transgressions and our sins be upon us, and we pine away in them, how should we then live?” This is a good question: If sin has consequences, how should I live? If you’re paying the price for sin, how should you then live?
The world would have you believe that sin is desirable, but sin has consequences. This is the message he was given to deliver. It was a difficult message to deliver.
God doesn’t want people to die in their sins. While there is a just recompense of reward for sin (hell), God doesn’t like to send people there. He wants people to turn from their way and live. If we would go to heaven, we have to go God’s way. Good works won’t get you there. Sin separates people from God. If you live a righteous life and then turn and sin, that sin will separate you from God; your good works that you had done won’t help you. If a sinner turns from sin and is washed by God, he can be what God wants him to be and his sins won’t be remembered anymore. When we come to God by Christ, we’re forgiven. If we turn again to sin and trust our own righteousness, we’re in trouble again. Sin separates us from God.
“Again, when I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; if he turn from his sin, and do that which is lawful and right; If the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed, walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die.” This isn’t a mental acknowledgement. It is repentance and restitution. We must walk with God and live to his honor and glory.
“None of his sins that he hath committed shall be mentioned unto him: he hath done that which is lawful and right; he shall surely live.” The sins God forgave won’t be mentioned by him again. When we forgive, we need to let it go. The devil would taunt us with our past, but God won’t.
The Israelites said, “God’s way isn’t fair.” God said the problem wasn’t his way, but that they weren’t right. God knows our ways. Our hearts can be made right. God doesn’t want us to die in our sins. He sent a way to address the problem: Jesus.
God gives us grace to walk in his way after we are forgiven. It’s why the Holy Spirit came. He wants us to live to bring glory to his name.
Also, thou son of man, the children of thy people still are talking against thee by the walls and in the doors of the houses, and speak one to another, every one to his brother, saying, Come, I pray you, and hear what is the word that cometh forth from the LORD. And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness. And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not. And when this cometh to pass, (lo, it will come,) then shall they know that a prophet hath been among them.
They came and heard the message, but they didn’t do anything. We can talk about Jesus all we want, but what matters is what we do.
“And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not.” Take this to heart. Ezekiel delivered a very serious message. Their response was to treat it as good entertainment. How can you hear this and not do anything? God will hold you responsible. How we accept God’s message determines its impact. Hear to know what God would have you to do and then do it. Stop and look at what God has shown you and then do what is needed. Obey God’s word. Let God speak to your heart. Hear him and take action.
God wanted the wicked to turn from his wicked way and live. God wants you to turn to him. Let God remove from you the things that won’t bring him glory.
Be willing to endure hard things for God. Be set to do what God would have you to do, even if troubles come. If we hear and don’t act, God’s word will be taken from us. Actively apply the word of God to your life. If you don’t, it becomes nothing more than entertainment.
One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple. For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock. And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the LORD. Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me. When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek. Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation.
This is what our response should be. We can ask God for wisdom and direction, and God will give it. The sinner gets detriment to his soul.
“When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek.” Our response should be this direct. We must be ready to do when we hear the sayings of Christ.
Jesus died so our sins could be forgiven. The Spirit of God came to abide in our hearts. It is in him we find grace to walk God’s way. When God speaks, be ready to do what God shows us to do. If we don’t, there is no help or hope. Life, good, abundant life, is found when we dwell in God’s presence.