“Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to a wicked man, “You will surely die,” and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to save his life, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the wicked man and he does not turn from his wickedness . . . he will die for his sin; but you will have saved yourself” (Ezekiel 3:17-19).
Ezekiel was given an impossible and hopeless mission: to preach to his fellow exiles and get them to change their faith. They are trusting in their countrymen for rescue. They are not trusting in God.
The task was hopeless because Ezekiel’s hearers were not only not likely to listen to the message, but they will attack the messenger. At least five times in chapters two and three God calls His people a “rebellious house.”
How did Ezekiel feel about such a ministry?
He describes himself as bitter and angry.
At who? God? Israel?
Perhaps both. God had, after all, not just laid this hopeless task on him, but had added that failure to engage in this hopeless and arduous task (not failure to get people to listen) would make Ezekiel culpable for the very deserved condemnation of his countrymen.
Who watches over God’s people today? Who are the Church’s “watchmen?”
Certainly Elders. But equally responsible are the preachers.
It doesn’t end there, however. We are all responsible for one another, to pray for and encourage, and hold one another accountable for our faith and lives. It’s why connection with a local church is so important. Those who choose to separate themselves from the local church and go their own way are not walking in the call of God, and by their separation will fall into the same condemnation as those they’ve abandoned.
One way or another, we are all in this together.