When various changes are taking place,
some think that God sports with the affairs of men,
and others, that everything is directed by the blind violence of fortune. . . .
Very few are aware that these things are appointed and regulated by the purpose of God.
— John Calvin (Isaiah I)
A company “goes public” when it sells shares to the public. Going public has benefits and dangers. Making a company public allows the general populace to (literally) buy into the vision. However, there is always the risk that the public may not understand the goals of the company, and act to undermine longstanding ideals.
Ezekiel decided that the risks were worth danger when he revealed his role as a watchman to the exilic community.
. . .
This passage is almost identical with 3:17-19. The significance of this restatement is found not in detailed comparisons of the minor differences between the texts, but in the audience.
In 3:17-19, God told Ezekiel what his job was. He was to watch for the danger that would come from God himself. As a faithful watchman, he would warn people of God’s words and thereby spare himself blood-guilt. The whole point of 3:17-19 was this: be a faithful watchman.
Now Jerusalem is fallen. The exiles in Babylon have conceded that they were guilty for their sin, and that God judged them rightly (this comes up in the next passage). The purpose of Ezekiel revealing his call to the public is to relay this message: listen to what God has to say through the watchman.
. . .
The message to the exiles was clear: God is sovereign. I like the way that Daniel I. Block emphasizes this:
First, Yahweh seizes the authority from the citizens and commissions the sentry himself. Indeed, his control over the scene is total: he determines the crisis (the sword); he appoints the watchman (Ezekiel); he identifies the enemy (house of Israel); he pronounces the sentence (death); he calls all to account. (Block, The Book of Ezekiel: Chapters 25-48, 241)
The exiles would have no doubt at this stage of their history that Yahweh oversaw every aspect of their lives. In the earlier chapters, they may have had doubts that Yahweh was not as powerful as the gods of the Babylonians who captured them, but now they had a better grasp of the truth.
. . .
It amazes me that even in God’s judgment, there is hope. I don’t want to sound trite in this: the judgment was horrible. The issue of theodicy (the extent to which Yahweh can be involved in the evils that coexist with judgment) still plagues my mind. But it’s time to move on.
The remnant is now given another opportunity to respond to God’s message through his watchman—A message that now will focus on hope.
. . .
Unsearchable God, help us to trust you and accept our part in your overarching plan for our lives, as well as our role in your kingdom. In Jesus’ name, Amen.