The Old Testament is a rich mine of truths about God and his ways. The prophets reveal the divine heart and intentions. Get a taste of truths about God from this little slice of Ezekiel 33.
No. 1. God is a revealer. “The word of the Lord came to me” (Ezekiel 33:1, ESV). He tells man what he is doing and what he expects. God does nothing without letting us know his intentions and actions (Amos 3:7; Ephesians 3:5). Things he reveals are for us all, that we might obey his commands and thereby find joy and peace (Deuteronomy 29:29). God’s revelation to us, now contained in the Bible, is for our salvation. “The Lord has made known his salvation; he has revealed his righteousness in the sight of the nations” (Psalm 98:2).
No. 2. God holds people responsible. “I will hold the watchman accountable for that person’s death” (Ezekiel 33:6, NET). This chapter and chapter 13 is all about man’s responsibility and God’s judgment. Each individual answers to God for their own actions, not for anyone else’s. Many parents today tell their children to do something, but don’t care if it’s done or not. (Seems like they enjoy hearing themselves talk.) They’re not willing to follow up and discipline their children. Part of our society’s ills are due to failure to punish a child. Let us never think that God is like a slipshod parent. We will be judged in the last day by the written word (John 12:48).
No. 3. God desires that man live. “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?” (Ezekiel 33:11; see Lamentations 3:33). God has the best intentions toward man. All that he does is for man’s good (Psalm 119:68). Speaking of Job — of all people!— James wrote, “you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful” (James 5:11). Jeremiah reminded the people, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11). Of what do these plans consist? “Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart” (vv. 12-13).
No. 4. God is just and judges righteously. “O house of Israel, I will judge each of you according to his ways” (Ezekiel 33:20). Man thinks God is unjust, but he really has no idea. We want judges who will let us off the hook, who hands down sentences based on who his friends are — and we want the judge to be a friend of ours. But God judges according to his principles, which are aligned with his nature and character. What a relief, actually, that we can always know what his judgments will be!
No. 5. God knows the heart of man. “… it is their own way that is not just” (Ezekiel 33:17). Remember that Jesus knew what was in man (John 2:25). Man’s heart is only full of evil, “every intention of the thoughts of his heart [is] only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5). Jesus himself said, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander” (Matthew 15:19). So what do we need? A new heart! (Ezekiel 11:19; 36:26). This is what Jesus does in the new birth (John 3:3, 5).
No. 6. God keeps his promises and fulfills his threats. “… a fugitive from Jerusalem came to me and said, ‘The city has been struck down'” (Ezekiel 33:21). The prophets of the Lord said it would happen if the people did not repent. They did not, so the Lord carried through with his threat. If God says it, you can count on it. Don’t let anyone persuade you that he will do things differently at the last minute from what he has declared in his Word. He just ain’t gonna do it. Take the Bible seriously. Very seriously.
No. 7. God wants people to know he alone is God. “Then they will know that I am the Lord, …” (Ezekiel 33:29). The knowledge of the only God is the key to all of man’s desires and hopes and dreams. God is not selfish or self-centered. Jesus’ death on the cross put that idea to death for all time (John 3:16). All else that are called gods are nothing but man’s imaginations and creations, as he flees from happiness with the one, true God toward the exaltation of desire and the certainty of destruction. The one God is our one hope.
There’s more! Read the whole chapter for yourself. Discover who God is. Find out how he works. See what his will is. Seek his face.