“Son of man, I have made you a watchman to the house of Israel”
These words can be found in the Bible book of Ezekiel in chapter 3 verse 17.
God’s method has always been to use those who are in touch with Him, to reach those out of touch with Him.
So when God desired to make declarations, He did not speak with a voice from Heaven, but used His faithful earthly servants. Obviously to do so, this watchman must first become familiar with the word of God.
“Eat this scroll”
1 He said to me, “Son of man, eat that which you find. Eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel.”
2 So I opened my mouth, and he caused me to eat the scroll.
3 He said to me, “Son of man, cause your belly to eat, and fill your belly with this scroll that I give you.” So I ate it, and it was as sweet as honey in my mouth.
4 He said to me, “Son of man, go to the house of Israel, and speak my words to them. NHEB
Not surprisingly, the apostle John during the prophetic vision shown to him that is recorded in the Book of Revelation was given the same instruction.
8 The voice which I heard from heaven, again speaking with me, said, “Go, take the scroll which is open in the hand of the angel who stands on the sea and on the land.”
9 I went to the angel, telling him to give me the little scroll. He said to me, “Take it, and eat it up. It will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey.”
10 I took the little scroll out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up. It was as sweet as honey in my mouth. When I had eaten it, my stomach was made bitter.
11 They told me, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages, and kings.” NHEB
The watchman must eat the words of knowledge found in the “scroll” and digest it. That requires more than simply reading.
It is possible to acquire an intellectual knowledge of the truth, while the heart is entirely unaffected.
Because of the righteousness found in both of these men, God’s holy spirit was operative so that not only were their minds affected, but also their hearts.
10 Moreover he said to me, “Son of man, all my words that I shall speak to you receive in your heart, and hear with your ears. NHEB
The Watchman’s Responsibility
The watchman was not called to convert or force repentance. His only responsibility was to warn them to turn back from their transgression from God by their wicked behavior.
When I tell the wicked, ‘You shall surely die’; and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at your hand.
Yet if you warn the wicked, and he doesn’t turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul.
Sometimes we may seek to do more than God requires of us and that is even possible for us to do.
We may think it is our job to convert and win souls. But the reality is that that is the work of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:6). The work of the watchman is to warn.
His responsibility has been fulfilled when he has witnessed. After that, those witnessed to are responsible before God for what they do with that witness.
As ‘watchman’ if we are obedient and warn the wicked, we are not chargeable with their ruin. On the other hand, if we fail to do so out of fear, frustration, or a lack of due diligence we will be held blood-guilty and we also will be punished.
Many ask why do we keep bearing witness about Jesus and why do we keep preaching God’s warning message in these last days. “Aren’t you tired of speaking to a world that for the most part has rejected God and Christ”? “Why don’t you just e silent and let whatever is going to happen, happen?
It is because our lives depend on our faithfully executing our assigned duties as faithful ministers of Christ. While the outcome of ministry is not within our purvey, we must exercise due diligence fully as obedient servant.
Yes, we are accountable to a Higher Authority.