“So you, son of man: I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me.” (Ezekiel 33:7)
Pray for your pastor! He has a task assigned to him by God which carries a great responsibility with a grave accountability. I have copied these words from Matthew Simpson into the front of my Bible:
His throne is the pulpit; he stands in Christ’s stead; his message is the Word of God; around him are immortal souls; the Savior, unseen, is beside him; the Holy Spirit broods over the congregation; angels gaze upon the scene, and heaven and hell await the issue. What associations and what vast responsibility!
God spoke of his messenger as being a watchman on the wall—a sentry posted to sound a warning to the people when an enemy was approaching. This is the thrust of Ezekiel 33.
God appointed Ezekiel to this duty (v.7a). He didn’t have a choice in vocation. This was not one job possibility among several. His only choice was to respond to the call with obedience, or to disobey and face the consequences. The pastor is not a volunteer; he was drafted! This is his appointment.
The prophet was to hear the Word and share what he heard (v.7b). As his position was not self-motivated, his preaching was not self-originated. The pastor must prayerfully immerse himself in studying the Scriptures to comprehend what God says and then fearlessly and faithfully expound that message to the congregation—without deletion or addition. This is his authority.
It is a job too big for a mere man, so the Spirit of God empowers the preacher. Ezekiel had experienced this. In a parallel passage in the third chapter, several times it is mentioned, “the Spirit lifted me up,” (v.12, 14, 24) and says, “the hand of the Lord was strong upon me.” (v.14) This is his anointing. What folly it is for a man to rely on his feeble intellect and ability to futilely try to accomplish a supernatural work!
The eternal destinies of men and women are at stake. There is a day of judgment coming and the preacher must sound the warning. Heaven is a happy place and hell is a horrible place. The man of God raises the alarm, “Prepare to meet your God.” (Amos 4:12) People must be called to repentance and faith. When the pastor discharges his duty, then the sinner is responsible with how he or she responds to the message (v.4-5). The blood is then on their heads and off the preacher’s hands (v.6-8). Sadly, many will not heed the warning. Some, however, will (v.5b, 11). The blood off our hands and on their heads, then becomes the blood on their hearts that saves from sin! The Lamb’s blood—the sacrifice of Jesus—is sufficient to cleanse the vilest sinner! God wants us to be saved. That’s why He sent His Son into this world. Everybody ought to know!
While we have focused on the pastor’s call as a watchman, with a view of you praying for and supporting him in this burden, we must also come to grips with the reality that there are not enough preachers in the world to reach all the lost. Every child of God has been called to be a watchman in the sense of being a Gospel witness. Are you helping to sound the warning—or is there blood on your hands?