Posted, August 9, 1998
V. 2, God is the one who brings about calamities in individuals, in nations, whether natural (floods, &c.) or civil disorder, illnesses, death, distresses of all kinds.
The purpose of the calamities is to call men to repentance, v. 29.
God sends his warnings, Amos 3:7
I realize it is speaking here of God's men as prophets, but notice Rev. 19:10
All of us who know Christ and the Word of God are prophets: we prophecy the results of sin according to the word of God. We also can prophecy the state of the dead according to the word of God, either heaven or hell.
EVERYONE HAS THE COMMAND BY GOD TO BEAR WITNESS OF JESUS.
ALL GOD'S PEOPLE ARE PROPHETS
Those who sit in the pews and those who stand behind the pulpits are fellow servants of the same Lord and Christ. We each have the command to bear witness of Jesus.
The things that take place in the lives of those around us are opportunities to witness for Christ.
We bear witness by friendliness, helpfulness and/or words.
Vv. 4, 7
1 Cor 1:21
People must warn people.
God has not chosen to send warnings by angles nor dreams, but by people. With our voice, we must sound the warning
V. 6, we are not responsible for the person turning, we are responsible to warn.
The sinner is still responsible for his sin whether we warn or not.
V. 10, 11
God judges each person according to
his or her righteousness. Ez 18:20-29, notice the importance
of this message--God repeated it word for word twice, Chapter 18
and chapter 33.
The purpose of the calamities is to get people to question, WHY? Our responsibility as a Christian is to be able to speak God's word. We must tell them that God's purpose is not to kill or make them miserable, but to save them.
V. 13, present indifference voids past godliness
V. 16, present godliness voids past indifference.
Vv. 15, 16, God calls upon men to confess his sins, and make things right. If he will do so, the Lord will bless him.
1 Jn 2:1, Prov 28:13, 14.
The big crocodile tears do no good without repentance and faith in Christ. One is still guilty before God without Christ. Genuine faith in Christ results in willingness to turn from sin.
Isa 43:24, up to this point in Isaiah, the Lord has clearly stated that the people deserve not the least of his favour. V. 25 says that he will blot out their transgressions anyway, "for His own sake." Throughout Scripture, we are confronted with the fact that any of God's actions toward man that do not destroy man are STRICTLY because of his mercy!
Isaiah 44:22 I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee.
One last point:
Ez. 33:17, man complains against the Lord is that he is not fare. Past iniquities are removed by repentance and righteousness, but past righteousness in removed by present sin.
"Look at all the good things I have done in the past. It is not fare that my past goodness does not now count, even though I am not now what I should be."
That will not work.
The Lord has made it clear: HE HAS SET A CHOICE BEFORE MAN, the ways of life through Christ and faithfulness to his word, or the ways of death.
The point here of God's word to Ezekiel is that the wicked do not naturally seek after the ways of life. Many times they do not want to even be told that they are headed down the wrong road.
The Lord sends calamities upon man, sometimes against man's evil, and sometimes just to strengthen their faith. But for whatever the reason, it is to get man's attention.
But even if people are unconcerned about the Lord, we are not relieved of God's command to offer them a warning.
God does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked. We must then assume that he takes pleasure when people listen and turn to him.
We must pray and seek for the chance to be friends with people.
We must pray and seek for the chance to speak to them about the Lord.
We must pray and seek from God's word what will work in their particular situation.
We must pray and seek for the chance to prophecy to them from the word of God.
Also, we must understand that past goodness does not cover present indifference to the Lord and his work.
Calamities will come upon people. It is God working to draw attention to himself. We must use those things not to beat them over the head with the Bible, but see them as opportunities to speak a kind word, encouraging word that will direct them in the right path according to the word of God.
STARTING WITH REPENTANCE AND FAITH IN CHRIST.