First Reading: Ezekiel 33:7-9

The Call of the Watchman

What "callings" do you hear? How do they differ from each other?

The word of the Lord came to Ezekiel the prophet:

7 So you, son of man, I have set you a watchman to the house of Israel; therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. 8 When I tell the wicked, O wicked man, you shall surely die, and you don't speak to warn the wicked from his way; that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood will I require at your hand. 9 Nevertheless, if you warn the wicked of his way to turn from it, and he doesn't turn from his way; he shall die in his iniquity, but you have delivered your soul.

World English Bible

Ezekiel was a priest at the Temple when the Babylonians captured Jerusalem and exiled its leading citizens in 597 B.C. About four years later, Ezekiel received his call from the Lord and prophesied for the next twenty two years near Babylon. The prophet's writings marked a turning point in the genre. Visions matched proclamation. While his contemporaries viewed him as a curiosity, following generations gained strength from his reflective and affected discourses. The book of Ezekiel led directly to the apocryphal style of Daniel, Revelation, and other inter-Testamental writings within the Judaism and Christianity.

In these few verses, Ezekiel realized his calling. He was to be the watchman at the city gate. Like other watchmen, he delivered news and orders from the king. Unlike other watchmen, he was not the gatekeeper who allowed the king's friends access to the city, while keeping his enemies at a distance. Ezekiel was to call the sinner to repentance. He called those leaving God's city (i.e., the community) to return.

There is strength in numbers. But for the Church, we are not talking about a body count, but the number of sincere, sorrowful hearts. If we hear God's watchmen, like Ezekiel, and return, our presence will make a difference. For we show others the kind of God we follow and the type of people with whom we associate.

How does God call you to change? What areas of your life need attention? Who helps you hear that call?