Are we the Watchmen?

“Once again a message came to me from the Lord: “Son of man, give your people this message: ‘When I bring an army against a country, the people of that land choose one of their own to be a watchman. When the watchman sees the enemy coming, he sounds the alarm to warn the people. Then if those who hear the alarm refuse to take action, it is their own fault if they die. They heard the alarm but ignored it, so the responsibility is theirs. If they had listened to the warning, they could have saved their lives. But if the watchman sees the enemy coming and doesn’t sound the alarm to warn the people, he is responsible for their captivity. They will die in their sins, but I will hold the watchman responsible for their deaths.’ ” Ezekiel 33:1-6

Whew, I have finally finished up reading the book of Ezekiel. Talk about a read. What a long and tedious book…all 48 chapters of it. I found it to be an interesting, yet difficult book.

Ezekiel was quite a character, even for his time. But he was a great prophet of God, and one that was willing to be used by God, no matter the cost. He lost or gave up almost everything in order to follow God’s will. Even unto the death of his own wife. God often referred to Ezekiel as the Watchman of Israel. And he explains to Ezekiel on several occasions the importance the watchman has in protecting the people (see the quoted reference above), and the consequences of failing to be vigilant in his duties.

The book is long, and it is full of tedious reading. For example, does anyone here want a blueprint for building a temple? I mean, right down to the last jot and tittle. All 15 chapters can be found at the end of the book of Ezekiel. I’m sure if I were an architect I’d appreciate all the detail, but I’m not, and I doubt anyone is ever going to replicate the building, so why is it in there? It’s there because God is a God that cares about the details. He’s a God that wants us to know that he has it all planned out – right down to the last mile; the last inch; the last second. He doesn’t get lost in the details like we do. Can you imagine, if God were as disorganized as we are, how much chaos there would be? This world wouldn’t have lasted this long, that’s for certain.

Despite the difficulty I had in reading this book, the Lord saw fit to include it in the Old Testament – for a reason that I’ll one day understand. But honestly, so many times I wonder why some books of the Bible are even included and others seem to have vanished or were never written at all. Think about it, with all Jesus did in his ministry, with all the letters the Apostles wrote to the churches, with all the persecution that the early church and the Christians endured, with all the memories that Mary and Joseph must have had about Jesus and his growing up years, why are books like Ezekiel in the Bible?

The Old Testament covenant was done away with on the cross – replaced by a new covenant; one, that at times, seems to be filled with a lot of gray area. So why, when we’re called to live under the new covenant, does the Bible need to have so much of the Old Testament and so little of the New Testament? Why did the Holy Spirit see fit to leave so much gray area unexplained? Sometimes I feel like I’m floundering around in that gray area – searching for a life vest in the dark. I guess that’s where faith comes in, right?

If you’re a Christian, I encourage you to read through the book of Ezekiel. I’d venture a guess its been a while since you’ve done so. Take your time. Read it carefully, thoughtfully, and with an open mind. Look at how God uses Ezekiel. Look at how God speaks to and through Ezekiel. And then examine yourself -how open are you are to allowing God to use and speak through you? Are you willing to become a member of societies fringe so the Lord can use you? Are you willing to speak boldly to people about Christ and his will for them if it means acting as strangely as Ezekiel did? Are you willing to be “the Watchman” in today’s world?

“Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the book of Ezekiel. Thank you for the life of obedience he lived. Thank you for showing me that even when it’s not fun; even when I’m alone; even when all the world has turned their back on you and your Word; I, like Ezekiel, can have courage and faith to stand strong and follow your Word and your commands. Thank you for showing me that you’re a God of details. That gives me so much encouragement – to know that my details matter to you. Help me to remember Ezekiel and his faithfulness to you. And help me to strive to always live a life of obedience and honor to you, in the same way your servant Ezekiel did. Thank you for sending Jesus, who’s sacrifice has taken away the need for the blood of bulls and goats. It’s in his precious and holy name I pray, amen.”

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