Ezekiel 33 [Clear Word]
5. A WATCHMAN'S MODUS OPERANDI
1 It was the day before a messenger came to me with the news that Jerusalem had fallen, that the Lord said to me, 2 "Son of man, tomorrow morning after you hear the news about Jerusalem, go to your fellow exiles and tell them not to be downhearted or discouraged, for this is what the Lord says: 'When war comes, people choose one of their own as a watchman. 3 When he sees the enemy coming against his country, he blows the ram's horn to warn them. 4 If someone hears the ram's horn but doesn't pay attention to it and the enemy comes in and takes his life, he has no one to blame for his death but himself. 5 He heard the ram's horn but didn't pay attention to the warning the watchman gave, so he has no one to blame for his death but himself. If he had paid attention, he could have saved himself. 6 But if the watchman sees the enemy coming against his country and doesn't warn his people by blowing the ram's horn, and the enemy comes in--though he kills only one person, the people will hold the watchman responsible for his death, and I will too.' 7 Son of man, I have chosen you to be my watchman for the house of Israel. So listen to what I have to say and warn the people for me. 8 When I give you a message for someone and you don't warn him so he can change his ways and save his life, and he dies in his sins, I will hold you responsible. 9 But if you warn him and he doesn't pay attention and continues in his ways, he will die, but you will live. 10 So go and say to your fellow exiles, 'Before the fall of Jerusalem you wouldn't listen to me when I pointed out your sins. You thought you were suffering for the sins of your fathers and not your own. Jerusalem has fallen because of your sins. Now you've gone to the other extreme and wonder if there's hope for any of you. 11 As surely as I live, says the Lord, I take no pleasure in seeing sinners die, but I find great pleasure when they turn from their wicked ways and live. Turn away from your sins and come back to me. Why would you want to die? 12 The good things a man has done will not save him if he continues to live in sin, neither will the past wickedness of a man condemn him if he turns away from his sins. If the man who did good things returns to his sins, he cannot be saved because of those good things. 13 If I were to tell a man that he would live because of the good things he did in the past, he would trust in his past good deeds but continue to live in sin. None of the good things he did, though, will do him any good. He will die because of his sins. 14 If I warn someone who is wicked and tell him that he will die because of his sins, and he turns and does what is right, 15 and gives back the deposit he took as security for a loan, returns the things he's stolen, stops living in sin and does what is right, he will not die but live. 16 Not one of the wicked things he has done will be held against him. He has done what is right. He has turned to me, and he will live. 17 Your fellow exiles keep saying that the Lord isn't just. But it's the way they look at things that isn't just. 18 If a good man stops doing good and starts doing evil, he will not live. 19 But if a wicked man turns from his wickedness and does what is good and right, he will live. 20 You keep telling me that what I'm doing isn't fair. But it is fair. I will judge every man according to his ways.'" 21 On the fifth day of the tenth month of the twelfth year of our exile and Jehoiachin's captivity, two months before the Lord had given me the last prophecy against Egypt, a man who had escaped Jerusalem came and told me that the city had fallen. 22 The night before he arrived, the Lord spoke to me and gave me back my voice so when the man came to me in the morning I could speak to him. 23 The Lord said to me, 24 "Son of man, the people living back in the ruined cities of Judah are telling themselves that originally the country was given to Abraham and he was only one man. If that is so, surely the country belongs to us because we are many. 25 Send them this message and tell them that this is what the Lord says: 'Some of you are still worshiping idols, eating raw meat with the blood showing and killing innocent people. On what basis do you think the land is rightfully yours? 26 You continue to rely on your swords, commit adultery with your neighbor's wife and do all sorts of detestable things. What makes you think the land belongs to you? 27 As surely as I live, says the Lord, those of you living in these ruined cities will be killed by the swords of outlaws coming after what goods are left. Those of you living in the country will be attacked and killed by wild animals. Those of you who have fled and are living in the caves of the mountains will die of disease. 28 I will turn the kingdom of Judah into a wasteland and her pride will come to an end. The mountains of Israel will be filled with such violence that no one will want to pass through them. 29 When the land is desolate, then you will know that I am the Lord. You will know that I have done this because of your sins.' 30 As for you, son of man, don't be deceived by the courteous treatment you will now receive from your fellow exiles and from the new captives arriving from Judah. They're talking about you as they walk along or stand in the doorway of their houses. They say to each other, 'Come, let's go listen to the prophet and hear what his message is from the Lord.' 31 So they will come and sit down in front of you to listen to what you have to say, but they have no intention of doing what you tell them to do. They talk about their devotion to the Lord and how much they love Him, but they are greedy for money, no matter what it takes to get it. 32 As far as they're concerned, you're simply good entertainment, no different from those who sing love songs and play on stringed instruments. They come to listen to what you say, but they have no intention of changing their ways. 33 When this happens, and it will, it will be a sign against them that a prophet has been among them."