God warns sinners of the wrath to come that they may flee from it.
Those who go promiscuously into the mouth of judgment,
though they hear the warnings of God’s servants against the dangers of sin, have destroyed themselves.
1 Again the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
2 Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman:
3 If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people;
4 Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head.
5 He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul.
6 But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand.
7 ¶ So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me.
8 When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.
9 Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.
10 Therefore, O thou son of man, speak unto the house of Israel; Thus ye speak, saying, If our transgressions and our sins be upon us, and we pine away in them, how should we then live?
11 Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?
12 Therefore, thou son of man, say unto the children of thy people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression: as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall thereby in the day that he turneth from his wickedness; neither shall the righteous be able to live for his righteousness in the day that he sinneth.
13 When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousnesses shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it.
14 Again, when I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; if he turn from his sin, and do that which is lawful and right;
15 If the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed, walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die.
16 None of his sins that he hath committed shall be mentioned unto him: he hath done that which is lawful and right; he shall surely live.
17 ¶ Yet the children of thy people say, The way of the Lord is not equal: but as for them, their way is not equal.
18 When the righteous turneth from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, he shall even die thereby.
19 But if the wicked turn from his wickedness, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall live thereby.
20 ¶ Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. O ye house of Israel, I will judge you every one after his ways.
21 ¶ And it came to pass in the twelfth year of our captivity, in the tenth month, in the fifth day of the month, that one that had escaped out of Jerusalem came unto me, saying, The city is smitten.
22 Now the hand of the LORD was upon me in the evening, afore he that was escaped came; and had opened my mouth, until he came to me in the morning; and my mouth was opened, and I was no more dumb.
23 Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
24 Son of man, they that inhabit those wastes of the land of Israel speak, saying, Abraham was one, and he inherited the land: but we are many; the land is given us for inheritance.
25 Wherefore say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Ye eat with the blood, and lift up your eyes toward your idols, and shed blood: and shall ye possess the land?
26 Ye stand upon your sword, ye work abomination, and ye defile every one his neighbour’s wife: and shall ye possess the land?
27 Say thou thus unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; As I live, surely they that are in the wastes shall fall by the sword, and him that is in the open field will I give to the beasts to be devoured, and they that be in the forts and in the caves shall die of the pestilence.
28 For I will lay the land most desolate, and the pomp of her strength shall cease; and the mountains of Israel shall be desolate, that none shall pass through.
29 Then shall they know that I am the LORD, when I have laid the land most desolate because of all their abominations which they have committed.
30 ¶ Also, thou son of man, the children of thy people still are talking against thee by the walls and in the doors of the houses, and speak one to another, every one to his brother, saying, Come, I pray you, and hear what is the word that cometh forth from the LORD.
31 And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness.
32 And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not.
33 And when this cometh to pass, (lo, it will come,) then shall they know that a prophet hath been among them.
Ezekiel 1 – J. Vernon McGee
Ezekiel 33:1-16 – “Why Will Ye Die?”
The prophet depicts the peasantry of a fertile valley as engaged in pastoral pursuits. It is a peaceful, happy scene; but, creeping through the mountain passes, are their deadliest foes. How necessary that there should be a watchman, trumpet in hand, to give notice; and how unspeakable his guilt if he forbear to sound a warning! We are not responsible for those who refuse to take warning from our announcements, faithfully given; but if we perceive a soul in mortal danger and forbear to warn it, we are not only responsible for its ruin, but we bring awful retribution upon ourselves. Well might Richard Baxter lie awake at night beneath his awful sense of responsibility for the souls of men. God desires our salvation. If only the sinner will confess his sins to the faithful and merciful High Priest, and make such restitution as he can, not one of his sins shall be remembered against him. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Ezekiel 33:33—Then shall they know that a prophet hath been among them.
The people looked on Ezekiel’s ministrations as a delightful diversion. They regarded him as one that had a pleasant voice, and could play well on an instrument, and gathered around him with apparent eagerness and devotion. With their mouth they were profuse in expressions of love and admiration; but they had no idea of the weight and worth of his words. They looked only on the beauty of his expressions, without penetrating to the spiritual depth and meaning they contained. But when once his warnings had taken effect, and his predictions had been fulfilled, they would know that he had been something more than a sweet singer, and that there had been a prophet among them.
We do not realize the true worth of God’s gifts till they are gone from us never to be recalled. That friendship was grateful and pleasing to the sense; but we did not gauge the true worth of our friend. That opportunity of hearing God’s word from the lips of an honored minister was frittered away in casual criticisms on his manners and gestures, instead of being employed for hearing God’s word from his lips. That incident in our life touched us by its outward features only; but we failed to receive the profound lesson it was intended to convey. Alas, so often when the prophet has gone, we realize what he was, and what we have missed!
Let us be more careful to look into the heart of the circumstances and people around us; to ponder deeply the meaning of all that God puts into our lives; to penetrate below the surface to the eternal and divine, which are not far beneath. The vail between us and the Eternal Presence-chamber is as thin and delicate as the walls of our hearts. —Our Daily Homily