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Under the figure of a Watchman, the Lord sets forth the duty of his Servants; in the blessed consequence of their giving warning, and the awful consequence if they neglect it.
The Prophet here draws the figure of a watchman, and points out the distinguishing features of his office. After which, the Lord declares that he had set Ezekiel in this Character, to the house of Israel: and most solemnly admonisheth him of the great responsibility of the charge. And as the blood of souls becomes infinitely more important in this high trust, than the watchman of a city or garrison, in warning the people entrusted to him of the danger of their bodies; the subject riseth to an higher degree of magnitude. With what holy fear and trembling, if this thought were duly considered, would the spiritual watchmen in the Church of Jesus, enter into the priesthood! And how would all such cry aloud, and spare not, in admonishing sinners of their danger, and holding up Christ as the only city of refuge for the manslayer to flee to, who by sin had murdered his own soul!
That I may not swell the bulk of this Commentary more than necessary, I refer the Reader to the observations made on Ezekiel 18:0 of this same prophecy, from Ezekiel 18:23 to the end; for the scripture itself is much to the same purport in both Chapters, and the remarks there made will for the most part be equally applicable to these verses here.
By comparing what the Prophet Jeremiah, in his history of the Church hath recorded, with what is here written, we discover that it was a whole year, and more, from the destruction of Jerusalem to Ezekiel's knowing it. See Jeremiah 52:4-14 . I desire the Reader to turn to the 24th Chapter, verses 24 to the end, as he reads what is here said. The Lord there promised Ezekiel, that he would send a Messenger to him when Jerusalem was overthrown; and that then the Lord would open his mouth. See here the accomplishment. How faithful is God to his promises! But I beg the Reader also to remark, the graciousness of the Lord, even in his judgments. They shall know that I am the Lord. This seems to be the great design, and the general close of all the Lord's dispensation, both in mercy and judgment. His people shall behold his hand in grace. His enemies shall discover the Lord's hand in judgment! Reader! is it not the same now? Doth not God the Holy Ghost in his divine office, convince of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment! John 16:8 .
Had the Prophet Ezekiel lived in the present day of the Church, it is highly probable he would have experienced much the same treatment now as then. Who so abused behind his back, as a faithful servant of the Lord Jesus Christ? What bitterness can equal the gall of the carnal heart, against the distinguishing truths of the gospel? Men may preach anything, yea everything, if they keep in the back ground Christ and his cross; Christ and his glory. But all hell is up in arms, when the blood and righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ are insisted upon as the only means of salvation. Reader! make your own observation of this, as you go through life, and you will find it universally true. Do observe, however, though the talk both by walls and in houses, was all against the poor Prophet; yet they still find it necessary to attend his preaching. It is probable Ezekiel did not know that they were so ill disposed as to talk against him, but the Lord will show him of it. Sweet thought to a faithful servant of Jesus! To such an one. I would say, from this scripture, remember Jesus knows all you go through, and observes all the conduct of your opposers! And, Reader! observe further, this very people were obliged to confess, that there was great power, and great sweetness, in the Prophet's discourses. Is it not to be concluded in the last day, that the condemnation of mere professors will arise from this very circumstance, and God's own word will be their own condemnation? John 12:47-48 .
PRECIOUS Lord Jesus! How can I hear or read of a watchman to the house of Israel, without having my soul led out to the contemplation of thine unequalled love and mercy to the souls of thy redeemed, when thou camest to watch over thy fold and flock, lest Satan should surprise them, and carry them away. Thou hast indeed, blessed Lord, set watchmen upon the walls of thy Zion. Oh! Lord make them faithful to God, and to souls, that they may never hold their peace day nor night; and give the Lord no rest nor peace, until that thou hast made Jerusalem a praise in the earth! But blessed Jesus! in vain do men build the house, except the Lord be both the foundation, and the builder! In vain do watchmen take their stand by night, except thou, O Lord, shalt keep the city. Oh! then Almighty Watchman and Keeper of thy people! Do not I behold thee, in the glories of thy person, God-man-mediator, set up from everlasting? Do I not trace thy daily love, and nightly vigilance, in all the goings forth for the salvation of thy people? Yea, precious Jesus, are not the goings of my God and king to be seen in his sanctuary? Who but Jesus is set forth in all the Old Testament promises, types, and shadows? And who but Jesus is manifested in all the New Testament fulfillment, in the everlasting realities of grace and salvation? A watchman art thou not, O Lord, in watching over thy Church, who never slumberest nor sleepest? And didst thou not take this office when thou camest up at the call of God thy Father, in thine incarnation? And in all that pertains to redemption-work, thou and thou only, art the great watchman, the standard, the ensign for war, against sin, death, and hell; all of whom thou hast conquered! Precious Lord! watch over me I beseech thee for good; and may I never lose sight of thy watchfulness; so that I may cry out with one of old, the Lord is my strength and my song, and he is become my salvation.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Ezekiel 33". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany