Watchmen and Love
God spoke to Ezekiel and declared that he was made a watchman to the house of Israel to give them warning from God. If he failed in this, he would be responsible and the blood of the unwarned would be required at his hands (3:17,21). These things are for us an example, for whatever things were written before, were written for our learning that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures, might have hope (Rom 15:4). We are watchmen.
We are strengthened through this written testimony that has come down to us from God. Let us not fail to declare the truth without fear or favour after the examples of the prophets of old, whose company we hope to share in God's kingdom; and it is pleasing to God that we give ourselves to the study of His prophets that we may know His will and obey it.
"For the lips of a priest should keep knowledge and people should seek the law from his mouth, for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts" (Malachi 2:7). And again: "If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God" (1 Pet 5:11; see also Eph 4:29; 1 Cor 10:31). But there is much preliminary "lamentation and mourning and woe" in which both Israel after the flesh and the Israel of God are affected for a season.
Ezekiel was much strengthened by God against apostate Israel: "The house of Israel will not listen to you, because they will not listen to me (God); as an adamant harder than flint have I made thy forehead. Fear them not" (3:7-9). The apostle Paul, in contrast, commended the elders who rule well; they should be counted worthy of "double honour, especially those who labour in the word and doctrine" (1 Tim 5:17). And again: "Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly" (1 Pet 5:2).
In these last days, some elders fail in their duty, "But you have departed from the way, you have caused many to stumble at the law" (Malachi 2:8). Further, God rebuked them: "The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you heeded those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away nor sought what was lost, but with force and cruelty you (the elders) have ruled them" (Ez 34:4).
All those things that God rebuked the elders about through the mouth of these prophets, we also found in the mouth of Jesus our Lord in his time (Luke 15:4), and later in the writings of the apostles (1 Tim 3:2-3). Instead of feeding the flock, they became savage wolves not sparing the flock (Acts 20:29), forgetting the warning the apostle Paul had given them with tears: "Therefore give heed to yourselves (the elders) and to all the flock among which the holy spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which he purchased with his own blood" (Acts 20:28). And now they are lords over God's heritage, instead of being good examples to the flock" (I Pet 5:3). They have blinded themselves that they love God and hate their brothers; it is written that they are liars: "For he who does not love his brother whom he can see, how can he love God whom he has not seen?" (1 John 4:20). "By this we know love, because he laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brother. But whoever has this worlds good and sees his brother in need and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? Let us not love in word and tongue, but in deeds and in truth" (1 John 3:16-18).
Anyone who dismisses those in need as in the word of James: `Depart in peace, be warmed and filled', but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?" (James 2:16).
Brothers and sisters, "If anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules" (2 Tim 2:5). Let us draw a lesson from what could be said about a fictitious elder of the church at Ephesus he had good works, labour, patience, he could not bear evil and he disapproved of failed apostles but he failed in one thing: love (Rev 2:4). "For whoever shall keep the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he is guilty of all" (James 2:20).
Brothers and sisters, the time is short, the Lord is almost coming. "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord"(Col 3:16 and Eph 3:17) and the Lord is the judge of the whole world. Before he sets the sheep on his right hand and goats on His left hand, choose today where you shall stand on that day, for we shall all want to hear his voice: "Come you blessed of my father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world," or it could be "Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matt 25:34, 41). "For if we wander from the way of understanding, we shall rest in the assembly of the dead for ever" (Prov 21:6) like the beasts (Ps 49:14).
Let every individual pray as follows: "Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties, and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" (Ps 139:23-24).
Bro Walter Wasike (Mombasa, Kenya)