Have you ever sat in silence only to be startled by the sound of an ambulance or a police siren? Usually, such vehicles are designed to alert the surrounding community or population to a dire situation that has occurred or is in progress of being addressed. Such sounds break the silence in which we were accustomed to so that we could see the greater danger or need that someone else may be experiencing. Emergency response vehicles also serve the purpose of being the mode of transportation to rescue an individual or to pinpoint the location of a disturbance.
The first goal of dispatching an emergency vehicle and personnel is to get the attention of the surrounding population as a warning of what is occurring. Secondly, it is to dispatch aid to those who are in need. Nevertheless, there is one who is also seeking to get our attention and that is the Almighty God. When we look at the world around us, we can see various examples of God attempting to get our attention. Often times we think that our daily way of life and how our society is structured is merely the way that things are meant to be.
However, when you turn on your television and you see senseless tragedies on display, these are not just random occurrences of evil. Much of what we are bearing witness to are the signs of the End Times, results of humanity’s sinfulness, and warnings from God to those who will listen. In the book of Ezekiel Chapter 3, the account of the Prophet Ezekiel receiving instructions from God is recorded.
In verses 1-3, you can see the impartation of God’s Word unto Ezekiel. God gives Ezekiel a message of warning to proclaim to the nation of Israel. As it was, the people of Israel had become disobedient and their hearts had been hardened because of their obstinance. (Verses 4-9) Ezekiel was concerned about his assignment to give God’s message to a group of people who he felt would not listen to what he had to say. Ezekiel felt similarly as Jonah did when God commanded that he go to Nineveh to preach to the sinful population. The feeling was one of dread and an opposition to what God had given him to do.
However, God brought both Jonah and Ezekiel into submission in differing ways. As far as Ezekiel was concerned, God led him to the people of Israel to proclaim God’s warning which made him ‘Israel’s watchman.’ In verses 16-19 the scripture reads as follows:
(NLT) “After seven days the Lord gave me a message. He said, “Son of man, I have appointed you as a watchman for Israel. Whenever you receive a message from me, warn people immediately. If I warn the wicked, saying, ‘You are under the penalty of death,’ but you fail to deliver the warning, they will die in their sins. And I will hold you responsible for their deaths. If you warn them and they refuse to repent and keep on sinning, they will die in their sins. But you will have saved yourself because you obeyed me.”
In verses 20-21, God gives Ezekiel the same charge but instead God uses the term, ‘righteous people’ rather than the term ‘the wicked.’ These were two conditions which covered those who were followers of God and those who were not which means that God is equally just with those who have committed their lives to Him and those who have not.
However, the overall point of this passage is to make it clear that God will indeed use who is available to bring a message of warning to anyone who will listen. It is also true that God will use scenarios in our world and even in our own lives to get our attention. Just like an emergency vehicle sounds its alarm to warn those in surrounding areas, God does the same for us.
There are a couple of things to take note of as it concerns this particular passage:
1. There is a penalty that comes with living in sin – In chapter 3 of Ezekiel, the first part of verse 19 says, “If you warn them and they refuse to repent and keep on sinning, they will die in their sins.” In verse 20, the same condition is given to those who are righteous individuals or those who are following God. This scripture essentially points to the fact that there is a penalty given to everyone who remains in their sin. Even in our world today, God is speaking through various signs and unfortunate events that signify God’s displeasure with humanity.
With the constant approval of a multitude of sinful behaviors which stoke the flames of lusting after the flesh and committing self-idolatry, also comes negative consequences. Such consequences are not only a result of unrepentant nations, but it is also a warning that God gives us to repent and avoid destruction. The great thing about God is that He doesn’t just allow you and I to sin without any warning. God loves all of us enough to not only provide Jesus Christ as an atonement for our sins but to warn us of the high cost that comes with unrepentant sin.
One prime example of such a warning to humanity was September the 11th, 2001. As tragic of a day that it was, it was also an event that served as a warning to anyone who had not yet chosen God through Jesus Christ. Some don’t like the idea of using natural and even man-made disasters as an argument for God’s warnings, however, God will often allow things to happen to get our attention. However, as you can see nearly 14 years later, America has grown worse morally and as a whole it has spurned the very idea of Holiness and submission unto God.
2. Those who know the truth will be held accountable for not sharing it with others – In this passage, Ezekiel is also told that if he does not warn those who are in their sin, then he will be held responsible for their deaths. For those of us who are in Christ, we have a tremendous responsibility to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Our goal shouldn’t be to condemn anyone, but it is to warn and also share the Gospel in love.
In our society today, we are now living in a time in which telling someone the truth of God may not include the penalty of sin and even talking about Hell. The fact is, both Hell and the penalty of sin are actual destinies for those who refuse God’s ways. However, if we who know the truth withhold it from a dying world, then there is a price that we shall pay. Ezekiel understood that if he failed to warn those in their sin, that the blood of those not warned would be on his hands.
Our job as Christians is to warn as many people as we can about the coming of Jesus Christ, and what can happen if a life of sin is lived in unrepentance. The fact is that even those who are not Christians have been warned through various signs and occurrences. When God speaks, He does so that no man or woman is left to say that they did not know. God is speaking all around us in each phase of our lives.
America and other countries around the world are all giving us signs of humanity’s willingness to sin. God has given us plenty of signs and there will be more to come. There will be a day of judgment that comes to every nation that defies God’s decrees. However, are we willing to listen and be obedient? If you don’t know Jesus in the pardon of your sins, you have an opportunity to be saved. God is constantly speaking, but it is up to you listen and surrender to His will. In doing so, you will be in a better position than if you remain in the condition of a hardened heart.