Ezekiel 3:17 – Watchman to a Rebellious House

The encounter the prophet Ezekiel had with the Lord is one of the more spectacular ones that we’re privy to in Scripture.  Isaiah may have seen a similar sight, but his description was almost subdued compared with that of Ezekiel.  Recall that in Isaiah 6 the prophet stood in the throne room of God in the Divine Council setting.  He witnessed the glory of Yahweh and the creatures who served him.  In all that, he realized how unclean he was and unfit for his own service to a holy and righteous God.  In Ezekiel’s case, Yahweh in His glory came down to the prophet with one of the stranger visions in all of God’s Word.  It has led some to speculate (wrongly) that what he saw was an intergalactic spaceship with alien beings.  Indeed, quite spectacular, but belonging wholly to the realm of our Creator God.

God’s call upon Ezekiel was marked with two major items.  The first was that the Lord continually described those to whom he called the prophet as a rebellious house.  He said in Ezekiel 2:3:

And he said to me, “Son of man, I send you to the people of Israel, to nations of rebels, who have rebelled against me. They and their fathers have transgressed against me to this very day.”

In telling His servant what he wanted from him, God said in Ezekiel 2:8:

“But you, son of man, hear what I say to you. Be not rebellious like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you.”

The servant of the Lord was to be completely different from those to whom God sent him to speak.  Ezekiel’s demeanor was to be humble and receptive to what Yahweh declared.  The Words that God gave him to eat, digest, and repeat were food for the soul.  They brought life and liberty.  However, those who would hear them would refuse to listen.  The rebellious house of Israel wanted nothing to do with their God because they had decided that He wasn’t worthy of their time.

Despite this, Ezekiel’s assignment was to bring the Word of the Lord to them anyway.  Their refusal to listen was already preordained.  God in His sovereignty and omniscience had already seen their future and knew their response.  Regardless, Ezekiel 3:11 reveals that the prophet was to:

“… go to the exiles, to your people, and speak to them and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord,’ whether they hear or refuse to hear.”

You would think that if a true prophet of God went to the people of Israel – given their background and calling as a theocracy under the provenance of Yahweh – that they would at least listen with some respect and consider what was said.  And, you (and I) would be wrong in thinking that.

Knowing this, and understanding that Ezekiel knew how Israel would react, God gave him an incentive.  Surely Ezekiel – upon being given this assignment, in which God specifically said the people were rebellious, disobedient, and wouldn’t listen – might have been reluctant with the attitude of what’s the point?  To overcome that possible inertia, God told Ezekiel if he gave him a warning to deliver, and the prophet didn’t do it, that would have severe consequences.  The Lord said in Ezekiel 3:18:

“If 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, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand.”

In other words, Ezekiel would be held accountable for his own disobedience.  On the other hand, if he complied as a faithful Watchman, then as Ezekiel 3:19 notes:

But if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall die for his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul.

The same consequences held true for God’s Word delivered or not to a righteous person.

In this judgment, to die was to go to Sheol with no means or opportunity for the redemption that God had long promised His people.  Their penalty was eternal separation from the living God.

The question for us today becomes: Is America a rebellious house similar to that of Israel?  I believe it is.  We have turned far from God and the righteous foundations He gave us.  He has been systematically removed from every sphere of our society.  Our secular culture is steeped in anti-God sentiment, with apostasy raging even in the church.  We decided long ago that we didn’t want to hear what the Lord had to say.  Our attitude was one in which we concluded that our own wisdom and self-righteousness were of greater benefit than what God would provide.  We’ve had false prophets for years declaring peace and safety, that we would turn from our wicked ways and experience a Great Awakening.  All will be well because the Lord would never execute judgment upon us.  He’s too loving for that.

The few Watchmen God has raised up to speak to our nation have had their voices muted.  Even when the Word of God they brought came to light, it has been mocked and derided.  The church has been among the most dense in this respect, failing to discern those who truly spoke for God versus those who decreed from their own imaginations.

Yes, I believe our nation could rightly be called a rebellious house.

In this environment, what are we who still love and serve the One true God to do?  Be obedient.  In these last days as darkness encroaches upon the land, Satan and his minions are gathering strength.  Perhaps you’ve noticed greater spiritual attacks in one form or another.  These include strikes against us in the physical, mental, and spiritual realms, each of us where we might be most vulnerable.

To combat these demonic efforts to take us down, it is our resolve and then action to obediently follow the Lord that will see us through.  We don’t do this in our own power, but in the strength and might of the Holy Spirit.  It is only He who can bring us through to the end.

And that end cannot be far off given all that we witness about us today.  The rubber band is stretching to its breaking point.  Soon it will snap.  When it does, the world will be ready to destroy us, but Jesus will come just in time for our delivery.  Let us keep looking for Him with eager expectation.

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