Ever since the day, in early March 2011, when I began to read the Bible for myself, I have have had the strong feeling that I must read it and obey it. In fact, those were the exact words of the preacher whose message prompted me to buy a bible the very next day and read it right through. Now, in today’s passage there is a lot of reference to the dying and death which is in store for those who continue to ignore God’s messages about not sinning anymore. To Christian ears this may seem a little harsh coming from a supposedly loving God. However the message is essentially the same as the New Testament regarding the need for repentance. God is simply saying if you repent of your sins and obey his word you will live. However, he is also saying that it is Ezekiel’s duty to tell the people God’s messages. It is his duty to warn them that they are sinning and what the consequences will be if they continue. But, crucially, The Lord does not expect Ezekiel to go any further. Just to be sure to give them the message. What they do with the message, after having heard it, is not to be Ezekiel’s concern.
Ezekiel 3:16-21 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. “If righteous people turn away from their righteous behaviour and ignore the obstacles I put in their way, they will die. And if you do not warn them, they will die in their sins. None of their righteous acts will be remembered, and I will hold you responsible for their deaths. But if you warn righteous people not to sin and they listen to you and do not sin, they will live, and you will have saved yourself, too.”
I was greatly helped on my journey of discovery through the scriptures by reading the Bible in a One Year format (the whole bible arranged into 365 daily readings) and also by reading a commentary to go with it. It left such an impression on me that I find that I have done the same thing myself with these TWG Devotionals. But it strikes me that not everyone will want to write a blog everyday about what they read in the Bible. So I thought a simple goal for anyone who believes in the Good News of Jesus could be to choose, from today onwards, not to deny their faith if ever the subject should come up. I reckon the least we can do for God, especially living in a place which has freedom of expression enshrined in law, is just to be confident that our confession of faith will be powerful in its own right. It could be the first step on a new journey of faith with an ever closer obedience to God’s will.
Ezekiel 3:16-6:14, Hebrews 4:1-16, Psalms 104:24-35, Proverbs 26:27