Click here for the reading: Ezekiel 3:16-21.
It has been seven days since Ezekiel saw the overwhelming glory of the Lord. He has had time to reflect on what the Lord has sent him to do. Yet it seems that in the bitterness of his spirit, Ezekiel sits hesitating of what is to come. Why does the Lord remind him of his call? How might the experience of the former prophets make him pause? What things make us hesitate from carrying out our own calling from the Lord? Compare also the complaints of Jeremiah to the Lord, especially in Jeremiah 20.
Ezekiel is set as the watchman of Israel. As a watchman, he must warn the people of coming dangers, letting them know what he sees and hears. Yet the approaching enemy of Israel is not something earthly, but the Lord himself! Why is the Lord opposed to his people? In what ways do we make God into our enemy? Why should we not forget that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God? Why should we also remember God’s wrath in these days? Consider also the words of Christ in Matthew 10:28 about the fear of the Lord.
The charge laid upon Ezekiel is simple, yet a difficult one. The wicked man who continues in his wickedness or the righteous man who falls from his righteousness must both be warned of the coming judgment. If Ezekiel fails in this, the judgment will still come, but for him as well! Why should we also heed this word given to Ezekiel? How is God’s call like a yoke laid upon us? How do we act as watchmen for the Church even in what we do, rather than just what we say? How do Paul’s requirements for pastors in 1 Timothy 3 relate to this passage?
On the other hand, when Ezekiel listens to the Lord and warns against evil, he delivers his soul from judgment. This is true even if the wicked man refuses to listen to that word and dies in his sin. Why does God’s judgment of pastors focus on their message? Why is it so easy to turn away from speaking the truth, especially on difficult topics? What does James mean that not many should become teachers in James 3?
Andrew, who we remember today, also suffered much for the sake of God. Tradition holds that he became a martyr by being crucified on an X-shaped cross. Suffering is part of the call of being Israel’s watchman, as Ezekiel knew while living in exile in Babylon. How do the examples of Andrew and Ezekiel teach us what it means to be faithful to God? What sort of temptations exist in our day that might lead us away from our call, even within our churches? Consider also the words of Jesus in Matthew 16:24-25 and what they mean for us in living as the watchmen of Israel.