Taking Ownership of the Lost

The One Year® Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), August 16

God holds those who know the truth accountable to proclaim it. He holds those who hear the truth responsible for their response.

imagesGod describes Ezekiel’s ministry as that of a watchman, “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me: when I say to 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 same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul” (Ez. 3:17-19).

A watchman stands at the highest lookout to spot an approaching enemy and warns those below who can’t see what he sees. The foolish man disregards the warning of the watchman, but the wise man heeds the warning and prepares himself. Those who live below live or die based on whether they make an informed decision.

Imagine the irresponsibility and selfishness of the person cured from cancer who withholds the cure from others! God holds those who know the truth responsible for proclaiming it. Just as watchman is not responsible for how others respond to his warning, so those who speak the truth are not responsible for how others respond.

Everyone deserves to hear the good news of Jesus Christ at least once during his or her lifetime and to be given an opportunity to respond at least once during his or her lifetime.

May the LORD grant believers an awareness of the lostness around them and a burden to warn them of impending judgment. Some will laugh. Others will ignore. Some may respond to the gospel message, turn from their sin, and trust Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Regardless of the response, the message must be proclaimed. Paul’s words are as true today as they were two thousand years ago, “How then shall they call on Him in who they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of who they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? . . . So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:14, 16).

Questions from today’s chronological Bible reading (Ez. 3:16-4:17; Jer. 27:1-28:17; 51:59-64):
Visuals grab people’s attention where words may fail.
God instructs Ezekiel to take a clay tablet to portray as Jerusalem, lay siege against it, and lay on his side for a combined 430 days. He is to also bake a certain type of bread over human dung. What would obedience to these instructions require of Ezekiel?
Meanwhile, back in Jerusalem, the LORD instructs Jeremiah to wear an ox yoke. What does the ox yoke represent? What does obedience to this instruction require of Jeremiah? How is his visual received by his audience?