Question of the Week: What is meant in Ezekiel 3:18 about the blood of the wicked being required by his hand?
Jesus observed that greater responsibility also includes greater consequences for negligence. To him whom much is given, much shall be required. This passage is affirming that same reality 600 years prior. Ezekiel, who was a prophet of God to the nation of Israel during their time in captivity in Babylon, stood alongside Jeremiah and Daniel constantly calling them back to a relationship with God. The reason they were in captivity in the first place was the eventual consequence of rejecting that relationship for 700 years. God warned them and they didn’t listen. The only ones they had to blame were themselves. They didn’t listen and their blood, i.e. the consequences of their decisions, was on their own hands. Ezekiel was the most current of a long line of prophets who spoke to Israel of these very warnings to avoid consequences and receive blessings. This opportunity also came with a price. Ezekiel knew what would happen if Israel continued to reject God. Once they heard these warnings, it would be their fault if they ignored them or not. However, if Ezekiel didn’t warn Israel and ignored God himself, then Israel would still pay for their crimes. Ezekiel as an individual, would also be responsible for not sharing the knowledge he was given above everyone else. The reason for this interpretation is found by reading the entire passage. Ezekiel’s conversation with God about this matter didn’t begin and end at verse 18. The full context of Ezekiel 3 begins at first 1 and ends at verse 27. Two illustrations are given. Ezekiel is commanded to eat a book and immediate goes on to explain that this was him being given the Word of the Lord to share with Israel. Ezekiel then is called a watchmen, who would be held responsible if he didn’t warn the city of an approaching army. His higher position would see that approaching army and give him the knowledge meant to be shared. The city would be attacked either way, but he would be responsible for the lives lost given the city was less prepared as a direct result of his negligence. Much like Jeremiah’s ministry, Ezekiel’s warnings largely fell on deaf ears. The benefit to Ezekiel would be that he wouldn’t be held responsible for not warning them. Jesus further affirmed this understanding of evangelism when sending out the 70 disciples to prepare people for His arrival. If they rejected them, then they were to shake off the dust from their shoes and inform them exactly what they were rejecting. The Kingdom of God. The takeaway is that even if people don’t listen, our responsibility from God is to faithfully inform them anyway so our consciences can be clear on the matter.
A Reason For Hope is a ministry of Calvary Christian Fellowship of Tucson
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