Revival Realized: What are We Watching For? Ezekiel 33

Revival Realized:What Are We Watching For?
Ezekiel 33:7-9

In Jesus Name

May the grace of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ help you to be a watchman for those around you!

What are we watching for?

As I looked at the Old Testament passage, I realized it was a call for revival. In some ways, a desperate one, for lives depend on it.  Not just physical lives now, but lives for eternity.

The people that God calls his watchmen to warn are in deep trouble, for an enemy is coming, and it is that very enemy of their whom we need to watch for, and to warn them about.

For if we don’t, God will hold us responsible for their deaths.

So this idea of revival, is not about getting the church to grow larger, though it should. It is about the difference between death and life, the difference between condemnation and mercy, the difference of dwelling in sin, or dwelling with Jesus.

So the question is, as watchmen, what are we watching for?

The answer is simple, an enemy.

The enemy of those whom we are to warn, less they perish.

Who would be their enemy?

Who is this enemy?

A few verses before this reading, the enemy is identified,

2  “Son of man, give your people this message: ‘When I bring an army against a country, the people of that land choose one of their own to be a watchman. 3  When the watchman sees the enemy coming, he sounds the alarm to warn the people.  Ezekiel 33:2-3 (NLT2)

In this case, the army is one God sends, and in the end, it can be only one army, led by one King, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

And Revelation 19 talks in depth of what happens, when that vast army, arrayed in white, shows up…

The enemy is the enemy, because of who is being warned.  Hear verse 8 again.

If I announce that some wicked people are sure to die and you fail to tell them to change their ways, then they will die in their sins, and I will hold you responsible for their deaths.”   Ezekiel 33:8 (NLT2)

The enemy is the enemy because the people that we are to warn, including ourselves, are caught up in wickedness.

The concept of wickedness in the Old Testament, is simpler than we might think. One of my Greek lexicons talks about the wicked being those found guilty of rupturing relationships. It clarifies it later, stating “The verb can describe a general breakdown of social relationships (Ps 94:21) in which bad people mistreat good people”[1]

A wicked person is just the monsters in history that killed or ordered the killing of people. A wicked person is anyone who causes damage to a relationship. If you want some ideas of this, look at the 10 commandments, each of them is about how you tear holes in a relationship. Whether is not using God’s name the way He asks us to, or honoring our parents, or murdering, theft, gossip, or being so jealous of someone else, we want to get what they have. These are things that rupture relationships,

That is what makes God consider these people wicked, anyone who does these things.

Responsible for their death?

If we are to love our neighbors, and we are, as those tasked with watching out for them, we are responsible if they aren’t informed that their enemy is coming, that judgment and condemnation are not far in the future.

This is why God would hold us responsible. He loves these people enough to make sure they are warned, and He has put the church here to do just that, to draw them back to His mercy, to tell them of Jesus, to explain what mercy is, and how God can heal the tears in any relationship.

SO what do we do?

That is what revival is about, God reviving those who are guilty of fracturing relationships with Him, healing the relationships that were ruptured by sin. It is where broken marriages find restoration, prodigals are welcomed home, communities find healing for sins that have torn them apart.

If you look at the Welsh Revival, or the Azusa Street revival, at Spiritual Awakenings in the early and mid-1800’s, or even the period of the Luther’s reformation and the counter reformation, there were things that happened in each of them.

One was a call to repentance, people praying that others would be saved, and warning them that God would come back, and that if they were still His enemy, if they still were still guilty of rupturing relationships, that it would be too late.

Revival always includes confession and absolution, because that is what causes us to need revival. It is what kills us spiritually.
And the way we prepare for God’s return is simple, we trust Him at His word.

10  For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. 11  So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.
Romans 5:10-11 (NLT2)

The very one coming, gives us the ability to repent, it is His gift. It is how He saves us, and all those we serve as watchmen for, all those we warn about God’s coming…

We have to let them know God will restore us to being His friends, to being His people. He will bring us into this relationship by rupturing our relationship with sin.

In fact, He already has, for us, that too is promised and guaranteed.

4  But—“When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, 5  he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. 6  He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. 7  Because of his grace he declared us righteous and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.”  Titus 3:4-7 (NLT2)

This is revival, this is here, it is what God  has done for you…. And it is our job as watchmen to ensure others will know He will do it for them… and to urge they take Him up on it.  AMEN!

[1] G. Herbert Livingston, “2222 רָשַׁע,” ed. R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer Jr., and Bruce K. Waltke, Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (Chicago: Moody Press, 1999), 863.

About justifiedandsinner

I am a pastor of a Concordia Lutheran Church in Cerritos, California, where we rejoice in God's saving us from our sin, and the unrighteousness of the world. It is all about His work, the gift of salvation given to all who trust in Jesus Christ, and what He has done that is revealed in Scripture. God deserves all the glory, honor and praise, for He has rescued and redeemed His people.

Posted on September 8, 2020, in Devotions. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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