Ezekiel 33:7 (NLT)
7“Now, son of man, I am making you a watchman for the people of Israel. Therefore, listen to what I say and warn them for me.
Ezekiel 34:11-16 (NLT)
11“For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will search and find my sheep. 12I will be like a shepherd looking for his scattered flock. I will find my sheep and rescue them from all the places to which they were scattered on that dark and cloudy day. 13I will bring them back home to their own land of Israel from among the peoples and nations. I will feed them on the mountains of Israel and by the rivers in all the places where people live. 14Yes, I will give them good pastureland on the high hills of Israel. There they will lie down in pleasant places and feed in lush mountain pastures. 15I myself will tend my sheep and cause them to lie down in peace, says the Sovereign LORD. 16I will search for my lost ones who strayed away, and I will bring them safely home again. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak.
Wow, after slogging through Ezekiel for the last several days (weeks?), we come to these chapters and what a wealth of info! It is awesome. I was struck by a couple of things today — which is why I chose to come back to the web to journal — there is just too much to write out long hand — plus I might just fill my few remaining pages.
In the first text above I was struck by the fact that Ezekiel is going to be held accountable — as the watchman of Israel — for how he does his job. If they don’t listen — that’s their problem. But if he doesn’t proclaim the message, then he will be held accountable for their sins.
Our church has been raised up — called — to warn people out of Babylonian confusion. That is our calling. If we don’t respond to this calling, we will be held accountable for not warning the people. However, if we do what God has called us to do, and the people don’t respond, then it becomes their problem.
Yet, we, just like Israel of old, have taken this responsibility to be a privilege and a right. What were we thinking? What could we have possibly hoped to have gained to think that we are so special ? No — of course, it is a privilege to be given the honor of warning others. But that means we have to honor that right and actually do the job!
We are in the last days of earth’s history. It doesn’t take too much understanding of Jesus words and Bible prophecy to understand that. God wants people to be saved. He says it over and over throughout the Bible. He keeps calling prophets and people to share the light of His love and salvation with others. But throughout the Bible, people fail to carry out this simple, yet uncomfortable, task.
Now, we’re coming down to the wire. There isn’t much time to waste. God has called this church to proclaim His message of repentance, justification, righteousness, and salvation through Jesus. It is time for us to do just that!
The second text above just struck me. As I am reading some of these Bible passages for the first time, I am amazed at how often Jesus quoted scripture. Over and over, He dropped (not so) subtle references to OT passages.
Like above, Jesus referenced Ezekiel several times, in several different places. Jesus referenced this text in John 10 and you gotta know that the Pharisees and Chief Priests, who were very familiar with scripture, knew exactly what Jesus was saying. They had to have sat there listening to him saying to themselves, He just compared Himself to God. They remembered that Ezekiel quoted God as the “Good Shepherd,” and now in John 10 Jesus does the same thing.
So, here’s the deal. Jesus’ not so subtle references were very understood by the religious leaders, but not so understood by the illiterate masses. Yet, Jesus’ words, His acts of love, His miracles, His teachings, His authority and confidence, His humility and meekness, His very presence was well understood by the common people. They knew they wanted to be near Him and to learn from Him. They were coming to understand that He was the Messiah.
Yet the religious leaders, who were closed to Jesus’ teachings and actions, couldn’t see Him for who He was. Yet, through His not so subtle scriptural references, Jesus told them exactly who He was. This ticked them off.
Now I understand better why they were always asking/telling Jesus to say who He was. “Are you the Messiah?” They asked. “Tell is who you are,” they demanded.
Interestingly, Jesus had made this clear to them in almost everything He said, but the common people may not have picked up on those references. So, they wanted Jesus to say it more plainly so that they could be justified in front of the people in their desire to eliminate Him. The people were falling in love with this great Man. The leaders were growing more threatened by Him.
To those who understood Jesus’ not too subtle words, they wanted Him gone. Yet they couldn’t comprehend His example, words, or actions. To those who read His life, they wanted more of Him. Yet the power of His scriptural references did little more than ring truthful.
1) God has called me to lead this band of watchmen. We must proclaim God’s mercy and justice to those who don’t understand the danger that lies ahead. The time is now! We must be bold in our proclamation of His Gospel message. We have no choice really…
But then again, if we have this message, why would we hesitate to make it known to those we love. We have the cure, why do we withhold it?
2) Just like Jesus, we need to be multi-faceted in our approach. We need to meet people where they are. Boldly teaching some, subtly teaching others. Through our actions, our words, our prayers, and our very lives, we must always be about Jesus!
Father God — Wow! Thanks for getting me through Ezekiel far enough to get the messages I got today. It would have been easy to get bogged down and just drop it altogether. But what a glorious light shines when I stay disciplined with you. You are rarely in a hurry, but you are right on time! Thanks God for sharing this stuff with me today. That is so cool!
Today Lord, this week even, I want to turn my plans over to you. I am busy and I have a ton of stuff to do, but I am willing to change my plans if you have better ideas and a greater vision of what can be accomplished today through you.
Please be with my leaders. Give them wisdom, insight, courage, and passion. Help them to fully develop their leadership gifts by surrendering to you and your ways. God I ask for blessings on my Group of Belonging. Continue to pull them together — as a family. Continue to disciple us all in your ways. Lord, I also pray for our church. Bring us ever closer to your ways — in obedience, in love, in grace, and in growth. Teach us all to truly experience You, through community.
I love you too God!