Stop the Rot
by Joseph Franks
Compassion is one of the characteristics that separates the Christian Deity from all other impostors. He is holy, judgmental, wrathful and violent against those who rebel against him and harm their neighbors. Yet he is simultaneously full of pity, compassion and grace towards anyone who recognizes his disastrous condition and calls out for mercy. Can you hear him calling to you right now? He is saying, “Please, stop rotting away!”
Our text for this morning comes from the 33rd chapter of Ezekiel:
Ezekiel 33:1-9 The word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, speak to your people and say to them, If I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from among them, and make him their watchman, and if he sees the sword coming upon the land and blows the trumpet and warns the people, then if anyone who hears the sound of the trumpet does not take warning, and the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet and did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But if he had taken warning, he would have saved his life. But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, so that the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any one of them, that person is taken away in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand. “So you, son of man, I have made a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. If I say to the wicked, O wicked one, you shall surely die, and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from his way, that wicked person shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, that person shall die in his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul.
Ezekiel is to be the trumpet-sounding watchman. He is to see the Angel of Death coming over the horizon and blow his horn loud and long. Perhaps some will hear, recognize their rebellion, recognize the current horrid consequences of their actions, consider the further imminent judgment, and respond with wise and humble repentance. Most likely they will not, for they have been most consistant in disregarding the preacher thus far. But either way, Ezekiel will be found faithful if he picks up his horn and alerts the rebellious people of God.
Ezekiel then receives another revelation from God; one that he is to pass along word for word:
Ezekiel 33:10-11 And you, son of man, say to the house of Israel, Thus have you said: ‘Surely our transgressions and our sins are upon us, and we rot away because of them. How then can we live?’ Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?
Can you hear the heart of the Holy God? “Look at yourselves! You are in the process of rotting away due to your transgressions and sins. You are reaping what you have sown. You are in a death-spin spiraling down. You are killing yourselves, and the worst has not yet come. My Angel of Death is on the horizon and He comes with my sword of destruction. I hate this! I have no pleasure in killing you, but I will do it because I am holy and you hate me, my people, and my good way. However, there is still time. You can turn back. You can live. I will forgive and restore you if you will cease your rebellion. Why, oh why will you rot? Why, oh why will you die?”
Friend, are you rotting away? Are you like the leper who sees himself falling apart more and more each day? Are you like the Prodigal Son found in the pig pen and wondering, “How did I get here?” Are you suffering from not worshiping well and following the sweet wisdom found in God’s Word? God hates your sin more than you do. He also hates your predicament more than you do. He urges you to repent. He has sent me to blow the trumpet. He is waiting for you with healing balm and arms wide open.
Find a quiet place. Note your transgressions. Carefully consider the horrific consequences that have befallen you. Then make your decision. Those who ignore the trumpet and the compassionate call of God will continue to rot away. Those who repent and run back to the Father will experience the sweet and restorative grace of the Great Physician.
Scripture Reading Plan
Monday, November 25, 2013 – Ezekiel 32-33; 1 Peter 1
Tuesday, November 26, 2013 – Ezekiel 34-35; 1 Peter 2
Wednesday, November 27 – Ezekiel 36-37; 1 Peter 3
Thursday, November 28 – Ezekiel 38-39; 1 Peter 4
Friday, November 29 – Ezekiel 40; 1 Peter 5
Saturday, November 30 – Ezekiel 41-42; 2 Peter 1
Starting January 1, 2014, this blog will follow a specific Bible reading plan that will take one through the Scriptures in one calendar year. More information will be coming soon regarding the particular plan chosen. Currently, I am looking at the various plans found at http://www.esv.com under the “resources” tab.