16 Now it came to pass at the end of seven days that the word of the LORD came to me, saying,17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me:
The prophecy of Ezekiel was written between 592 and 570 B.C. The Prophet hailed from a priestly family and he ministered to the exiles who were living in Babylon before the ultimate fall of Jerusalem which took place around 585 B.C. His ministry coincides with Jeremiah’s preaching though Ezekiel had already been deported during this time period.
One of the major themes of this prophecy involved the task of warning that was given to Ezekiel. The Prophet was to say (as all prophets were) everything that God had told him to reveal and he was to hold nothing back. This task would be arduous and difficult but Ezekiel was to perform this work faithfully and dutifully.
These points lead us to the conclusions we see in Ezekiel chapter 3:16-21. First, Ezekiel was told to warn the people about the Lord’s judgment. God had made him a “watchmen” who was instructed to warn the people about the threat of God’s wrath for disobedience. The work of warning is unpopular and those who undertake it don’t win many friends along the way. Ezekiel was given this task nonetheless.
Another principle emerges from these verses. The prophet was told to sound the alarm about God’s judgement. But, if Ezekiel failed to give the warnings as instructed, Ezekiel would be held accountable for not warning the people. The people who rebelled against God and refused to repent would suffer God’s wrath for their actions. But, Ezekiel would also stand guilty before the Lord for failing to proclaim the truth about the coming judgement of the Almighty.
Believers in the present day are not Old Testament prophets. Yet, all Christians are given the task of evangelism which, when done properly, includes warning people about their need for a Savior and calling them to repent and believe in Christ (Acts 1:8, Matthew 28:19-20, 2 Corinthians 5:20-21). May we, the people of God, be faithful to share the good news so that others might be saved. Let us be dedicated to this work just as Ezekiel the prophet was faithful to his calling.