Summary: In Ezekiel 3, three facts stand out- Responsibility, Accountability, and Regretability.
INTRODUCTION: Ezekiel was a prophet, priest, and prisoner during the time when the Jewish people went into exile as the judgment of God fell on them because of their sinfulness and idolatry, and were taken captive into the land of the Babylonians. God had called Ezekiel to a prophetic ministry in Babylon, and to the exiled people of Judah. The exiles, among which Ezekiel lived, like him, had come from the upper crust of Judean society. They were privileged people that had everything they needed. They were affluent, having everything. They had both wealth and health, but they were out of Jerusalem, they were separated from God. They were listening to the pleasant preaching of the false prophets who said the exile would be short and that there was no more judgment coming. It was in this setting Ezekiel was called to be a watchman blowing the trumpet of warning to a people that did not want to hear. In Ezekiel 3, I find three facts applicable to both the watchman and the people to whom he was to speak which also apply to each of us today: Responsibility, Accountability, and Regretability.
A. The Watchman’s Responsibility
1. Ezekiel 3:17 “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”
2. Ezekiel 33:7 “"Now as for you, son of man, I have appointed you a watchman for the house of Israel; so you will hear a message from My mouth, and give them warning from Me.”
3. It is the watchman’s duty to alert the city of impeding danger or of an enemy’s approach. The watchman must remain on guard alert to any danger to sound the cry of alarm, awakening the city to action. It is not the watchman’s duty to fight the battle. It is not his job to repel the enemy. He is responsible to sound the alarm. He is to sound the alarm clearly for all to hear. He cannot control the people’s response, but it is his duty to sound the alarm. The people must answer for their own lives.
4. Acts 1:8 “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."
5. A witness is someone who by explanation and demonstration gives audible and visible evidence of what he has seen and heard without being deterred by the consequences of his action. S. Briscoe, Getting Into God, p. 76.
6. Ezekiel 3:10-11 “Moreover He said to me: "Son of man, receive into your heart all My words that I speak to you, and hear with your ears. And go, get to the captives, to the children of your people, and speak to them and tell them, ’Thus says the Lord God,’ whether they hear, or whether they refuse."
B. The People’s Responsibility
1. Ezekiel 37:4 “Again He said to me, "Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, ’O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord!”
2. God is speaking everywhere. God is not dead and he is not silent. Man is responsible to hear His voice as He speaks.
3. Proverbs 19:20 Listen to counsel and receive instruction, that you may be wise in your latter days.
4. Proverbs 28:9 “One who turns away his ear from hearing the law, Even his prayer is an abomination.”
A. The accountability of the watchman
1. God holds us accountable to be faithful "watchmen" to those who are in our community and our world in which He has placed us.
2. The watchman needs to be a trustworthy man. He needs to be faithful and alert to his task--a man who understands the importance of his purpose, and who dedicates and gives himself wholeheartedly to live up to his responsibility. Whether the message he has to give is positive or negative, welcome or unwelcomed, he has to be utterly committed to give it when it is needed--no matter what the cost. If he fails to do so he will be give an accounting for his failing to carry out his assigned mission.
3. Ezekiel 3:18-19 “When 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, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul.”
4. In Hebrew “his blood I will require at your hand.” The expression “require blood from the hand” is equivalent to requiring the death penalty (2 Samuel 4:11-12).