Yesterday we covered what makes for a good watchman, and today we will continue in the same vein, discovering that message God gave Ezekiel, his chosen watchman. There are five important elements in the prophetic message God gave Ezekiel and they are elements that have neither changed, nor been diminished with the passing of time.
Ezekiel 33:11, “Say to them: ‘As I live’, says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’”
Within this single verse there are five important elements that I have identified, the first of these being God’s heart in regards to the wicked. God said, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked!’ It is one of the most glorious affirmations contained within the Word of God, and it shows us God’s heart. No, He does not take any pleasure in the death of the wicked; God’s desire is that the wicked man turn from his way and therefore live. Physical death, as well as spiritual death which consists in man’s eternal separation from God are both the consequence and direct result of sin. The word of God is clear on this point when it says that the penalty for sin is death, as well as when it says it is appointed unto man once to die, then judgment.
Death is not the end of existence, it is not followed by annihilation or reincarnation, but rather our physical death is followed by judgment! We each owe a debt, and it is a debt that all men pay. We each live one life, we each die one death, but how we choose to live this present life will determine where we go after we die, whether to God’s eternal rest, or God’s eternal judgment. His heart has not changed, He still takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, and He still desires that the wicked turn from their way that they might live.
We don’t get a do over, we don’t get the opportunity to relive our lives and make better choices, we can’t go back in time and right the wrongs that we’ve committed, and for many this is a terrifying truth indeed. We get one life, and in this life there is no better news than the fact that God does not desire the death of the wicked, but that they repent and have life in Him.
Whoever this is for, no matter how grimy with sin you might be, no matter how enslaved by your addictions, no matter how bound by the enemy, no matter how weary and burdened, know that there is hope. God loves you, and He takes no pleasure in your death. This is why the immortal God, sent His Son in mortal flesh, to be born in a manger in Bethlehem, to hang on a cross on Calvary and die for our sins, because He did not desire to see our death. In Him we have hope, He took the burden of our sin and lawlessness and unrighteousness upon Himself, that in Him we might have life with God. It should have been you sentenced to death, it should have been me sentenced to death, but Christ took our death sentence upon Himself that we might be reconciled with the Father and be offered eternal life. It’s almost too beautiful to be true, but it is, and this is why we worship Him as Lord and King because He gave His life that we might have life.
2 Corinthians 5:14-15, “For the love of Christ constrains us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.”
The second element of great import is that God’s declaration of taking no pleasure in the death of the wicked is as certain, and real and true as He Himself is. God began the message Ezekiel was to deliver with three very important words: ‘As I live!’ We are as certain of God’s heart concerning the wicked as we are concerning the fact that He lives. As He lives, He has no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. There is nothing more steadfast and sure than the life of God, He who is the source of all life and the wielder of all power. If God’s oath can’t convince you of His intentions, I can’t think of anything on this earth that will.
Hebrews 6:17-18, “Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.”
Just to show us, the heirs of promise the immutability, or the unchanging nature of His promise, He also confirmed this truth by an oath, even though the fact that it is impossible for God to lie would have been enough. Not only did He reveal His heart concerning the lost, but He also made an oath that we might have strong consolation or comfort, in the knowledge of this truth.
The third element of this verse is the question that God poses to those who are unwilling to repent that they might have life. ‘Why should you die?’ is the question that God asks all those who reject Him. Why do you choose death and not life? Why do you choose judgment and not forgiveness? Why do you choose to be God’s enemy rather than His friend?
As absurd as the sinner’s attitude might sound, this is the cruel reality of life: the unrepentant sinner, chooses death! He feels the pleasure of living in sin and is unwilling to part with it, because his being has been perverted at its root, and the wickedness he is living in reaches to the core of his being. He has come to love that which he should despise, and has come to despise that which he should love. Men choose death, men choose separation from God because they are unwilling to depart from their sin, and they are unwilling to untangle themselves from the wickedness that is choking the life out of them. Why should you die when you could live? That is the question that should be keeping the unrepentant sinner up at night.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.