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Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Persistent Purpose of God # 36

The Messenger Must Be the Embodiment of His Message (continued)

"A Watchman" (continued)

Now, of course, I could spend a lot of time in speaking about what God is seeking in this dispensation. That will come later in the book of Ezekiel. We are just underlining this truth: a watchman's first business is to know the time, and then to give a very clear message as to what the time is. If his note is not clear and distinct, people will not know what the hour is.  I do ask you, brethren, to go and think much about that. The whole matter of how much the Lord is with you will depend upon how much you are with the Lord in the purpose of the hour. If you are trying to do something that God does not want done at this time, you are wasting your time, and you are wasting your strength. So, then, the function of the watchman is to be eyes for the people of God.

And then the second thing is to discern what the situation is and what it will lead to. All this is contained in this description of the watchman's word which the Lord gave to Ezekiel. The watchman is looking out, he sees certain things, and he discerns what those things imply. He sees that those certain things mean something evil for the Lord's people - these are signs that there is evil coming. If these things are not guarded against, the result will be death. That is what is here in the in the description of what the watchman saw. And then on the other side, he sees the Way of Life; and he is able to say, "Now that is the way of death, and that is the Way of Life." But the watchman has to be familiar with what he has to discern the situation and recognize the way in which things are going. It is a very big responsibility. We are all called to be watchmen, and we must have an unmistakable message. We must understand the things that mean death for the Church.

"I Am Your Sign"

This brings us to our third and final title of Ezekiel: "I am your sign." In the Book of Ezekiel, all the things that the Lord commanded the prophet to do are gathered into that title. You look at chapter four, and you see the strange things that the Lord commanded Ezekiel to do.

He commanded him to take a tile and to draw on it a picture of Jerusalem, a picture of Jerusalem as in siege. And then Ezekiel was told to lie on his left side for 390 days, and then to lie on his right side for 40 days, and then to uncover his arm before all the people, and then the Lord said that He would put bands upon him so that he could not move, and He would make his tongue cleave to the roof of his mouth so that he could not speak, and then Ezekiel was told that he must become a baker and he must make enough bread to last 390 days. And then Ezekiel was told to take a sharp razor, to shave his head of all his hair, and then to weigh the hair in balances.

These are all strange things, and Ezekiel was to do all these things in the sight of all the people.

Then when you get well on into the book, you come to that very sad thing. In chapter 24 Ezekiel's wife dies, and he is not allowed to mourn for her. He is to just go on as though nothing had happened, and everybody would look at him and would say, "This is a scandalous thing; the fellow does not care, although his wife has died." Ezekiel goes on just as though nothing had happened.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 37)

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