God's Call to Repent (Ezekiel 3:16–19) - Radical

God’s Call to Repent (Ezekiel 3:16–19)

“At the end of seven days, the word of the Lord came to me, ‘Son of man, I’ve made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning for me. If I say to the wicked, “You shall surely die,” and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood, I will require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall die for his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul.'”
– Ezekiel 3:16–19

What a humbling passage, what humbling words from God to Ezekiel, to one entrusted with God’s word. All throughout God’s word, we see warnings to turn from sin and to experience salvation from sin by the word of God, by the grace of God, by the mercy of God, and that’s exactly what’s happening here. God is calling his people to turn away from their sin and to trust in his mercy to repent. He is calling Ezekiel to proclaim that message. The sobering picture here in Ezekiel 3:16–19 though is that Ezekiel as a watchman, so picture almost like a lighthouse attendant, warning boats of where the land is. They don’t crash into it. If you don’t give that warning, if you fall asleep on your watch, then people’s lives are at stake. That’s the picture here, a watchman. A watchman warns people what is coming.

God has called his people to serve as watchmen over the souls of others. We have a responsibility to warn people of judgment and point them towards repentance.

Obviously, Ezekiel had a unique role in being a watchman in the Old Testament, but how much more do all of us who have God’s word, the good news of God’s grace and what he has done for our salvation, for people’s salvation through Jesus work on the cross, how much more do we have a responsibility today, tomorrow this week to warn people of coming judgment for sin, of salvation from sin through faith in Jesus.

This Verse Encourages Us To Warn People Of The Coming Judgement

You and I, all of us who have the gospel are watchman with the responsibility of telling people of coming judgment and telling people that Christ can save them. So yes, it’s clear here in Ezekiel chapter three, when someone dies and experiences judgment, they do so for their inequity, for their sin. At the same time, Ezekiel chapter three is soberingly clear that those who know how people can be saved from sin and do not warn people of coming judgment and of how they can be saved from sin have a responsibility on their hands as well.

So I just want to encourage you right now to think about people around you who don’t know Jesus, who right now if they were to die would die separated from God by their sin and would experience eternal judgment and to see that God has put you in those people’s lives. Whether it’s family members, friends, neighbors, coworkers, God has put you in their lives as a watchman. He’s put me in other people’s lives as a watchman.

Faithfulness Is Important To Warn People Of His Good News

So we pray, God help us to be faithful to warn people around us of coming judgment. God help us to be faithful to warn people around us of the good news of your grace in Christ. Oh God, we pray that you would help us to be faithful to speak your word, to speak words of warning, to call people to repent, to encourage people to turn and to trust in you. God, we pray for the salvation of friends and family members and neighbors and coworkers through our faithful witness. So God, don’t let us be silent. We pray, especially this week, God use us. Use us to share the gospel. Use us to point people to Jesus. Help us not to neglect this awesome task that you’ve given us as watchman.

Ezekiel 3:16–19 Prays For The Kasab People In India

God, right around us and in the world, God, we pray for the Kasab people today in India, over a million of them no followers of Jesus. As far as we know, hardly any people have gone to warn them of coming judgment and to call them to trust in Jesus. God, we pray for watchman to go faithfully to the Kasab in India and to thousands of other people groups like them.

Ezekiel 3:16–19 Prays That People Would Turn And Trust In God

O God, we praise you for your salvation. We praise you that somebody warned us. We praise you that we’ve experienced your grace and your mercy that we don’t have to be afraid of judgment and death because of somebody carrying out that faithful task of being a watchman in our lives. God, to help us to turn and to do this in others lives. So God, we pray that today and this week, people would turn and trust in you because of our faithful witness as watchman. God, we pray this in Jesus’ name, amen.

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical.

David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Don’t Hold Back, Radical, Follow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to ChangeBefore You Vote, as well as the multiple volumes of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.

Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area.


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