Summary: God calls his church to broadcast his warnings loud and clear in today’s world. He wants our hearts to be broken by the careless, godless people who are paying no attention to God’s warning signs and he wants us to take seriously our responsibility to do
A man living on the first-floor of an apartment got upset every night because the guy living above him dropped his shoes on the floor when he got ready for bed.
Every night, the same thing happened. First, the noise from one shoe, then the noise from the other. Finally, the man downstairs had enough, so the next time it happened, he pounded on the ceiling with a broomstick, and yelled at the guy to stop it.
The next night, as the guy upstairs was getting ready for bed, he took off the first shoe, and without thinking, dropped it. Then he remembered. He was not supposed to do that. So he took the second shoe off carefully and put it down quietly.
The guy downstairs was in bed when he heard the first shoe drop. He lay there waiting for the second shoe to drop, but it didn’t. Finally, he yelled, “Hey. Drop the other shoe.”
During the past week, shoes have been dropping all over the place. First, it was Hurricane Ike as it churned through the Gulf of Mexico, putting everyone on edge about where it would make landfall.
Then it was a serious train collision in L.A. caused by the engineer who was trying to text message someone on his cellphone rather than watch his job.
Then it was the housing market, the stock market, and the whole banking system as one financial institution after another showed signs of meltdown. Everyone was asking why the financial system was going down the tubes.
A columnist in the Kansas City Star wrote, “Let’s be honest: Greed has really undermined the U.S. economy the past few years. Way too many Americans got too greedy. Here is part of his list:
-- Greed by homeowners who made poor decisions to spend too much money on houses.
-- Greed by financial institutions that offered absurd mortgage packages to attract home loans.
-- Greed by consumers who maxed out credit cards to pay for big vehicles, electronic goods, clothes, appliances and other stuff they couldn’t afford.
-- And greed by all Americans who refused to save for a rainy day.
Looking ahead, he wrote, the single best way to turn the U.S. economy around is for Americans to start living within their means. (Yael T. Abouhalkah, Kansas City Star Editorial Page columnist)
As Janice said last Wednesday evening at Bible study, “Who knows what else will happen? The dominoes are falling.”
Two Sundays ago, I introduced the Old Testament prophet Ezekiel, a man who received a vision from God that he should speak God’s word to the people. The verse just before our scripture for today (3:15) says that after God spoke to Ezekiel, he sat there stunned for seven days.
Life was not pleasant for him or for his fellow Israelites back in the 6th century B.C. One shoe had already dropped. Many of the Jews had been deported from their own country into Babylon and were now living as refugees. They were in exile. Why? The Bible says it was because they had been disobedient to God. Ezekiel 2 says they were rebellious, impudent, stubborn and wouldn’t listen to God.
And the second shoe would drop soon if they continued to reject God’s warning. That calamity would be worse than a hurricane, a train collision or a stock market crash. It would mean the destruction of the city of Jerusalem, the religious and political center of their nation. They would be wiped off the map.
Ezekiel 5:5 says, “This is Jerusalem; she has rebelled against my ordinances and my statutes, become more wicked than the nations and the countries all around her.” V.8 “Therefore, thus says the Lord God: I, I myself, am coming against you; I will execute judgments among you in the sight of the nations.”
God established Jerusalem to be a moral and spiritual example to the world, but the Israelites had rebelled against God. They were to be a light to the nations, but their light had gone out and God said his judgment would come upon them.
So, since one shoe had already dropped, God appointed Ezekiel to be a sentinel, to warn them that the second shoe was about to drop. And from Chapter 3 to Chapter 33 we read the words of warning God spoke through Ezekiel.
The Sentinel’s Role
A sentinel is a watchman who stands ready to warn of danger or attack. In Bible times, watchmen kept an eye on the fields during harvest. Watchmen also stood on the walls of the city to look in the distance for enemies, ready to sound their trumpets if they saw danger. They had to look beyond themselves and their surroundings.
Because a sentinel stood at a higher place, he was able to see farther than the other people in the city. He could see what was coming. The same is true for a prophet who has his antenna tuned to heaven’s frequencies. He can see beyond where his people are spiritually and can provide an early warning system for them.