Well fellow Journeyers, by now you are deeply into one of the more challenging reads in scripture – Ezekiel. If you think it is tough to read, put yourself for a moment in Ezekiel’s shoes. This dude had a tough assignment. He was called to prophesy during a time of great international upheaval. The Assyrian empire was on the march, taking the world by storm, and Israel and Judah were in a centuries old decline into sin, immorality, and spiritual complacency that had reached epic proportions. They had become as sinful and wicked as the nations around them and in some cases had become even worse!
Ezekiel’s job is perhaps most clearly outlined in chapter 33. Ezekiel was called to be a watchman. The job of a watchman was to sit at the top of a city’s gate and warn the city if danger was approaching. That was Ezekiel’s job for not only for the Israelites, but for the surrounding nations as well. While reading chapter after chapter of sometimes graphic warnings of impending doom and punishment, it can be tempting to think, is the Older Testament God simply a God of judgment and wrath? What happened to the NT God of grace and love? Did God Change? Absolutely not!
The Old Testament and New Testament God is the same God – a gracious savior and righteous judge. God is saying through his prophets, particularly to the nation of Israel, if you continue to turn your back on me, and reject my love and my commands that give life, then I will leave you with the consequences of your sinful choices. I will remove my hand of protection and leave you to your own devices and you can see how that goes for you. The same is true with our lives individually and as a nation today.
A beautiful glimpse into the heart of the father is found in Ezekiel 33:11, “Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, O house of Israel?’” God is graciously offering them a last chance to turn, even begging them to return to him and receive His love, grace, protection and life.