Ezekiel 33:1-9: Going Public

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.

< Ezekiel 32:17-32 | Final Fellowship

Ezekiel 33:10-20 | God’s Logic >

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One Response to Ezekiel 33:1-9: Going Public

  1. Robin October 5, 2014 at 9:02 am #

    “The issue of theodicy (the extent to which Yahweh can be involved in the evils that coexist with judgment) still plagues my mind.”

    Oh good, I’m not the only one. :o)

    This is something I’ve thought and prayed about at length and now see somewhat of a glimmer. Sometimes the answer is right in front of us and we just have to flip it on its side or walk around to another vantage point to be able to understand it.

    Although I’m not sure how evil ever came to exist in the first place (I’ll have to leave that with God), I do know that God never would have created us without us having the capacity to choose for or against him. We chose poorly.

    I believe that there are certain rules about who God is and how things run that are immutable – basically, it just is. One of those rules is that sin leads to death. Period.

    We sin. We die by various means and methods. We need only to look back in history and around us in the present to see this illustrated. Israel’s, Tyre’s, Egypt’s – all their sins were leading them to death as the consequence.

    Now, instead of viewing God as solely the Punisher and Redeemer (which is what he is, but give me a second here), view him also as Someone who is so intent on our lives and the prospect of our salvation that he will not look away from us for one instant, but is busy turning all things, consequences of sin included, into an opportunity for us to repent and receive Life (“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28)).

    Death is the consequence of sin. God doesn’t have to do anything morbidly special – it is the consequence and we need to accept that. The absolute beauty and hope in all of this is that GOD GIVES PURPOSE TO EVEN THE SEEMINGLY MOST SENSELESS, UNGODLY THINGS OF THIS WORLD. He never had to touch it at all, but because of his incomprehensible (for now) love for us, HE CHOOSES TO GET INVOLVED AND ASSIGN PURPOSE, THE PURPOSE OF REDEMPTION AND LIFE, to what the Enemy has designed only for destruction and death. Praise God! Our God is bigger and stronger than anything! Our God is “heaven”-bent on saving our souls, so much so that he even descended to the pit of hell to save us!

    Nobody has ever loved me this much and it blows my mind the extent to which God will go to rescue me! He just won’t let me be destroyed!

    Lord, thank you for the relentlessness with which you pursue us. There is no height to which you will not climb, no depth to which you will not plunge to rescue me. Because I know this, “I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate me from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38). I can trust you!

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