Ezekiel 3: Responding to the Call
I think that it is easy to say that we will be bold and preach the gospel, but it is another to actually do it. I assume Ezekiel was not that far off from us in that respect, but here is what God told him in chapter 3 of his book.
Eze 3:17 Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me.
Eze 3:18 When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.
Eze 3:19 Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.
Eze 3:20 Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand.
Eze 3:21 Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul.
On one hand, this might feel harsh. If Ezekiel did not fulfill his job, he was going to be held responsible for his actions just like the man who he didn’t warn. However, that really is justice, and it is also indicative of how serious the call of God is.
Ezekiel was called to be a prophet. It was something that God specifically chose and uniquely gifted him to do. I think that is why we see such harsh potential consequences. If Ezekiel had chosen not to be the watchman, he was denying the will of God. That is a serious offense, and it is not one that is taken lightly.
Think about Jonah as a kind of parallel. He tried to run away from the will of God, but he was brought right back. Similarly, even though Ezekiel did not run away, I would speculate that if he did, God would have done a very similar thing to what he did with Jonah.
Running away from what God has specifically called us to do is a serious thing. Granted, there are times where we may not know what God has called us to do, but that was certainly not the case with Ezekiel. After all, he told him exactly what his job was. I guess the application is rather straightforward for all of us. If God is truly calling us to do something, we need to do it. It is not optional.