The prophet Ezekiel lived in a dark time.
- In the space of less that 20 years, three loads of Israelites were dragged from the promised land – away from Jerusalem, away from the temple – even away from God Himself it seemed.
- Even the king himself, Jehoiachin, was in exile.
- Ezekiel was supposed to be a priest, serving at the temple in Jerusalem, but there he was in Babylon – far from Jerusalem, far from the temple.
In the midst of all of the trouble, God wanted a man to watch for, and to give warning to his people.
- Jeremiah was God’s watchman in Judah.
- Daniel was God’s watchman in the king’s of palace.
- Ezekiel was God’s watchman among the people by the river Chebar. Let us first consider…
THE TASK OF THE WATCHMAN
- Ezekiel 2:3… There they were, God’s people, children of Abraham – in a foreign land, a strange country, because of their sin – their rebellion against God!
- Notice what else God tells Ezekiel… Ezekiel 2:5-6
- They were to know that a prophet had been among them…
- Today, the brethren must know that a faithful gospel preacher has been among them – not some sissyboy preacher – but one who contend for the faith
- Question – will the world around us, your friends, your co-workers, your family know that a faithful Christian has been among them?
- Yes indeed, the time of Ezekiel was a dark time
- Unfaithful Israel had abandoned God
- Sin and death was preferred, rather than obedience and life.
- He is encouraged not to be afraid of them, or their words, or their looks… and neither should we today!
- Yet God still wanted his people to come back.
- So, He gives them a watchman… Ezekiel 3:17
- A merciful God gave a watchman to protect their life.
- Beware, of those who hold God’s watchmen in contempt and rebel against the mercy of God.
And what is his task as watchman?
- First one needs to understand what a watchman is… Ezekiel 33:1-6
- Imagine a small city or town which needs protection.
- To prevent the city from being overrun, walls are built up around the city.
- There are gates of course, but as long as there is sufficient warning, these can be closed and defended.
- The one way that the enemy has a chance of conquering this city is to take it by surprise – to get through those gates before anyone realizes it, and while they are undefended.
- To ensure that they have plenty of warning in the event of an enemy attack, a man with a very important job is posted on the city walls.
- There stands the watchman, high on the walls.
- 1) He has to be high up, so that he can see far into the distance.
- 2) His eyes scan the horizon constantly, panning the countryside, squinting in the bright light and searching for any sign of movement.
- No matter what the weather, no matter how tired he is, he must stick to his task – he is a watchman!
- If there is going to be an attack, he must see it.
- 1) He must see it as soon as becomes visible
- 2) He must blow the trumpet and blow it loud and long, to warn the people, to wake them up, to put everybody on the alert.
- 3) That is his task – Watching and warning!
- The spiritual watchman must do two things:
- He must watch – that is, he must hear God’s Word.
- Read and study… 2 Timothy 2:15; 1 Timothy 4:13
- Understand what the will of the Lord is (Eph. 5:17)
- But he can only do this if he is knowledgeable in the Scriptures – he then has the ability to spot that which is false
- Many do not know that an enemy is approaching because they do not know the Scriptures well enough
- He must fall asleep at his post
- He must warn – that is, he must bring God’s Word.
- He must announce it to God’s people.
- Preach the whole council of God
- Today it is imperative to bring God’s word to all people (Matt. 28:18-20).
- He must watch – that is, he must hear God’s Word.
- Simple isn’t it?
- Yes, it is simple, and yet very difficult at times.
- Ezekiel was indeed a good watchman, but the message he had to bring wasn’t exactly a popular one
- God’s message today is not always popular
- God’s message concerning salvation, the one church, moral issues, etc.
- As watchman, he had to announce God’s word of condemnation because of their sins… even if the people didn’t like it
And there were also false prophets. They did not bring God’s Word – rather, they brought a message which the people wanted to hear, a message which they invented.
- Isaiah 30:10
- These, the false prophets, were the watchmen memtioned in… Isaiah 56:10
- Can you imagine a blind watchman – The enemy comes, and no one sees them. As they enter the gates there is no-body who blows the trumpet.
- Before they realize it, they are being killed, as the voice of the blind watchman on the watchtower echoes off the walls … “Don’t worry, all is well.”
THE MESSAGE OF THE WATCHMAN
First of all, we must notice to where he is sent.
- God says “I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel” (Eze. 3:17)
- The watchman is concerned with God’s people.
- These are the people that God compared with briers and thorns and scorpions!
- Ezekiel, the watchman, must go to these same people and give them a “Thus saith the Lord“
God gave them a watchman – to protect their life!
- He doesn’t want them to die in their sin, but wants them to live… Ezekiel 33:11
- God wants to give his people life, that’s why he sends His watchman – to protect their life!
- We must do the same today – Titus 1:13
Ezekiel is also sent to the world about him, they also need warning.
- We too are sent to the world
- Mark 16:15-16
The message the watchman must bring is a serious one, it’s a matter of life and death.
True life is in fellowship with God, and restored fellowship is with Him through Christ’s blood
- In Christ, sins are removed, they are washed away.
- But that gift of life can only be enjoyed in the way of continued obedience.
The watchman, Ezekiel, and the watchmen of the new covenant must bring that same message.
- Ezekiel was, and we are, watchmen of the covenant.
- The church needs to be reminded about God’s word, His covenant promises and threats, His covenant demands and obligations.
- The world needs to be told that there is no hope for them outside of Christ (2 The. 1:8).
- Watchmen are needed!
THE RESPONSE TO THE WATCHMAN
First of all, let’s consider what God’s response is to the watchman.
- He will judge the watchman for his faithfulness.
- Since God gives his people a watchman to protect their life, that means that the watchman who doesn’t do his job properly is endangering the life of the people.
- The watchman who fails to blow the trumpet is responsible for their souls.
In the church…
- Elders are responsible… Hebrews 13:17
- Preachers are responsible… 1 Corinthians 9:16; Acts 20:20, 27
- Each member also bears responsibility… Galatians 6:1-2
Perilous times demand God’s people to be watchful
Often, though, God’s message is rejected.
- Many will never give ear to God’s word (Neh. 9:30)
- God’s word, many times, will be met with rebellion and bitterness by those whom the word cuts (Acts 7:54).
- Some will be almost persuaded, but they too will be lost (Acts 26:28).
- But friends, those few who gladly receive the word and obey it, make all our efforts worthwhile.
Watchman must keep on watching.
- A watchman who won’t watch is like:
- A defective smoke detector, or an air bag with holes
- Worse yet, the blood of the souls of men will be on his hands
- We must keep watching for the souls of men
Remember, we are God’s Watchman