These opening chapters of Ezekiel describe his calling and commission from the LORD God to be a watchman for the house of Israel, for the captives who were taken captive to Babylon before the final destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. A watchman is Strong’s H6822, and the root means, to enlighten. To bring light to the eyes so that the eyes can see. So this same word is a root for a watchtower, a high place with a wide view all around, as well as being used to describe the prophet.
Ezekiel begins by eating a scroll with the words of the LORD on it, and then he is charged to speak that word in the hearing of the captives, no matter what. He is being called to bear witness to the truth, to make the truth known and not keep silent.
Something that we learned when we were studying the Ten Commandments in Torah, is that the negative commands also imply a positive action. Do not commit murder can also be understood as Do honor the sanctity of life. When we have an opportunity to preserve the life of someone who is in danger of losing it, it is incumbent upon us to do so. Likewise the negative command, Do not bear false witness can also be understood as Do bear true witness. Witness to the truth that you know!
The LORD explains this more clearly to Ezekiel:
“Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a word from My mouth, and give them warning from Me: When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul.
“Again, when a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die; because you did not give him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood I will require at your hand. Nevertheless if you warn the righteous man that the righteous should not sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live because he took warning; also you will have delivered your soul.” Eze 3:17-21
Telling the truth that we know can be a matter of life and death. It is not enough to just not lie when asked about something; we must also tell the truth even if not asked, when that information is a matter of life and death.
“But when I speak with you, I will open your mouth, and you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD.’ He who hears, let him hear; and he who refuses, let him refuse; for they are a rebellious house.” Eze 3:27
However, we have to remember that once we have done our part, which is to speak, what they do with what we have said, is up to them. It is NOT our responsibility to argue someone into agreement with us. It is not our responsibility to change other people’s minds. That is something only the Holy Spirit can do:
“And when He (the Holy Spirit) has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment;” Joh 16:8
Convicting someone of the truth of what we are saying, or in our day we might say, convincing someone of the truth of what we are saying, is not our job — that is the job and the responsibility of the Holy Spirit. We can speak the truth in love, with joy, when we relieve and divest ourselves of the burden of others’ response to that truth. We do not need to fear, because the LORD knows all who are His, and He will not let a single one fall through the cracks, out of the palm of His hand!