Ezekiel 33

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Read Ezekiel 33

Renewal of Ezekiel’s Call as Watchman

33 The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, speak to your people and say to them: ‘When I bring the sword against a land, and the people of the land choose one of their men and make him their watchman, and he sees the sword coming against the land and blows the trumpet to warn the people, then if anyone hears the trumpet but does not heed the warningand the sword comes and takes their life, their blood will be on their own head. Since they heard the sound of the trumpet but did not heed the warning, their blood will be on their own head. If they had heeded the warning, they would have saved themselves. But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes someone’s life, that person’s life will be taken because of their sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for their blood.’

“Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to the wicked, ‘You wicked person, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade them from their ways, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. But if you do warn the wicked person to turn from their ways and they do not do so, they will die for their sin, though you yourself will be saved.

10 “Son of man, say to the Israelites, ‘This is what you are saying: “Our offenses and sins weigh us down, and we are wasting away because ofthem. How then can we live?”’ 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, people of Israel?’

12 “Therefore, son of man, say to your people, ‘If someone who is righteous disobeys, that person’s former righteousness will count for nothing. And if someone who is wicked repents, that person’s former wickedness will not bring condemnation. The righteous person who sins will not be allowed to live even though they were formerly righteous.’ 13 If I tell a righteous person that they will surely live, but then they trust in their righteousness and do evil, none of the righteous things that person has done will be remembered; they will die for the evil they have done. 14 And if I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ but they then turn away from their sin and do what is justand right— 15 if they give back what they took in pledge for a loan, return what they have stolen, follow the decrees that give life, and do no evil—that person will surely live; they will not die. 16 None of the sins that person has committed will be remembered against them. They have done what is just and right; they will surely live.

17 “Yet your people say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ But it is their way that is not just. 18 If a righteous person turns from their righteousness and does evil, they will die for it. 19 And if a wicked person turns away from their wickedness and does what is just and right, they will live by doing so. 20 Yet you Israelites say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ But I will judge each of you according to your own ways.”

Jerusalem’s Fall Explained

21 In the twelfth year of our exile, in the tenth month on the fifth day, a man who had escaped from Jerusalem came to me and said, “The city has fallen!” 22 Now the evening before the man arrived, the hand of the Lord was on me, and he opened my mouth before the man came to me in the morning. So my mouth was opened and I was no longer silent.

23 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 24 “Son of man, the people living in those ruins in the land of Israel are saying, ‘Abraham was only one man, yet he possessed the land. But we are many; surely the land has been given to us as our possession.’ 25 Therefore say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Since you eat meat with the blood still in it and look to your idols and shed blood, should you then possess the land? 26 You rely on your sword, you do detestable things, and each of you defiles his neighbor’s wife. Should you then possess the land?’

27 “Say this to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: As surely as I live, those who are left in the ruins will fall by the sword, those out in the country I will give to the wild animals to be devoured, and those in strongholds and caves will die of a plague. 28 I will make the land a desolate waste, and her proud strength will come to an end, and the mountains of Israel will become desolate so that no one will cross them. 29 Then they will know that I am the Lord, when I have made the land a desolate waste because of all the detestable things they have done.’

30 “As for you, son of man, your people are talking together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, saying to each other, ‘Come and hear the message that has come from the Lord.’ 31 My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to hear your words, but they do not put them into practice. Their mouths speak of love, but their hearts are greedyfor unjust gain. 32 Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice.

33 “When all this comes true—and it surely will—then they will know that a prophet has been among them.

Go Deeper

Ezekiel 33 is one of the weightiest commands in all of Scripture. God assigns Ezekiel as a watchman for the house of Israel. A watchman was a well-known military title for those who would stand at the city wall, watch for danger, and warn the people. This passage is sobering and eye-opening; to whom much is given, much is expected (Luke 12:48). 

The watchman would be responsible for warning everyone of God’s coming judgment and presenting an opportunity to repent and be rescued from God’s coming wrath. However, if the watchman failed to warn the people there were clear consequences. The people would die as a result of their sins and the watchman’s punishment was death. The calling was specific to Ezekiel and yet the principle still applies today in two prominent ways. Primarily, every person who has trusted in Jesus for their salvation has a responsibility to share the Gospel (Matthew 28:18-20). Furthermore, the shepherds of God’s sheep, the elders who will give account for the flock also share this responsibility (Hebrews 13:17). This assignment reveals two key insights: the heart of God and the responsibility of man. 

God’s heart that all would repent and live. We see this in Ezekiel 33:11. The apostle Peter states a similar sentiment in 2 Peter 3:9 saying, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” Like a watchman, Ezekiel’s assignment was to warn the people of a coming judgment they had brought on themselves. Along with that, he was to tell the people to repent, turn back to God, and receive mercy. This is God’s kindness to warn us. 

Man’s responsibility is to tell everyone of the coming wrath of God. God, from the beginning, has used a variety of people to accomplish His grand rescue mission. What did all these men and women have in common? They were available and yielded to God’s assignment over their own. In God’s kingdom, the greatest ability is availability. For believers, the call is to share the good news of Jesus with everyone. As Paul said in Romans 10:14-15, “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”. Will we neglect the weighty assignment God has given all His followers or will we be those who lose our life for the sake of the Gospel?


  1. Do you make a practice of warning others of God’s coming judgment for all who fail to repent?
  2. Who warned you and how can you show gratitude toward them this morning? 
  3. Who is the one person you know you need to share the Gospel with immediately?

A Quote

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose.” – Jim Elliot, a Christian missionary who lost his life sharing the Gospel with an unreached tribe in the rainforest of Ecuador.

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2 thoughts on “Ezekiel 33”

  1. As Christ followers, everyone of us receives the task of a watchman. Our circle of influence and wherever it takes us- homes, jobs, or social activities, are places of responsibility. Every person we encounter is someone Christ died for. When we understand the gravity of this, we will, like Ezekiel, issue warnings and share the hope found in a personal relationship with Jesus. God wants everyone to turn to him in repentance and receive forgiveness. As we go about our days, may our eyes be opened and our hearts pierced to share the good news with others. Someone is waiting on the other side of our obedience.

  2. Regret, remorse, repentance. We have regret “Why did I do that?”, remorse is the feeling of disgust and pain. True repentance is turning away when we include changing our hearts, mind and will. We turn from our sin deliberately and turn to the Lord for His mercy. The Jews are still arguing with Ezekiel about it not being their fault but God’s. As a watchman, Ezekiel is telling them turn, even though he knew they were just listening to him “preach” but not really adhering to what he was telling them. BUT GOD let Ezekiel know that verse 33 “When all this comes true—and it surely will—then they will know that a prophet has been among them. Ezekiel was doing right. We have the Word of God in our hands readily available all the time and we will have much to answer for when we see Jesus. Yes, we need to know the Word but more so we need to ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. ‘ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself. ‘ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31) Obey

    God thank You for another glorious day. Thank you for an open mouth to tell others about You and how to be a part of Your kingdom. God help me not make this world and all in it about me.. Thank You for the scales of selfishness falling from my eyes. Show me how to do what it is You need me to be doing in these minutes of this day in Jesus name amen.

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