The Middle East cauldron is reaching a boiling point again, and news is beginning to splash all over the world. I spent this weekend hearing a Middle East expert expound on the current geopolitical landscape of the Middle East, taking in Joel Rosenberg’s sobering message regarding the threats we face today, listening carefully to an incredibly interesting interview with Jordan’s King Abdullah on American television recently, and tracking the news of more violence in the Middle East. It would take hours to elaborate on any one of those items, so I’ll spare you that brain damage for now! However, I will do my best to summarize and share the “meat” of those things in the coming days.
Heaviest on my mind, though, is the challenge issued by Joel Rosenberg in his address to a large congregation in Texas this morning. I watched the live stream and, frankly, feel so kindred in spirit with his message that I want to share a portion of it with you. Thus, I direct your attention to Ezekiel 33.
Ezekiel was from a Jewish priestly family. However, Israel was living in rebellion at the time and God was not going to put up with it. Therefore, God allowed evil to come in order to bring judgment to Israel. Jerusalem was attacked and Ezekiel was one of thousands who were captured and taken into captivity in Babylon. While in captivity, there was no point in being a priest, as there was no temple and no chance that the Jews would be able to continue temple services while in Babylon. Thus, God appointed Ezekiel to prophesy. The book of Ezekiel is the prophecy given to Ezekiel while in captivity.
So, please stop right now and read Ezekiel 33:1-7. The warning in verse 1 is clear: the Lord Himself is about to bring a sword (judgment) upon the land because of Israel’s rebellion. Ezekiel’s job was to warn the people to get ready physically, militarily and spiritually. If the people responded, they would be saved (verse 5), but if they did not, they would die (verse 4). But if they were not warned, the watchman, with their blood on his hands, would be held accountable (verse 6).
Do I really need to explain this principle? Israel’s cities were once walled for protection, and watchmen were stationed on the walls in order to fend off attackers and to warn the people. In verse 7, God appointed Ezekiel a “watchman for the house of Israel.” This is a metaphor because they were no longer in Israel and, thus, no longer living behind walls! Sure, this is instruction to Ezekiel for the people of Israel, but it is also a principle God ordained in Scripture for us to apply today!
You see, we are all called to be watchmen on the wall! We are all responsible to warn people when enemies attack or when danger comes our way. Spiritually speaking, we are facing dark times and people need to know there is hope!
Last night I had dinner with a friend who told me of a young man, strong in the Lord and who mentored other young men. Yet, this young man went off to college, was fed ideology opposed to the Godly message he grew up learning, and today is floundering in his faith. No, he has not lost his salvation, but he is “lost and without hope” for now. Why? Because our enemy is alive and well, and our “walled cities” of Christianity are being attacked. When the light of Christ is hidden, we live in hopelessness and darkness.
That’s the personal level, but it is evident on the national level as well. For example, our president will take to the airwaves this coming Tuesday night to give us the “State of the Union” address. In it, he will tell us (as every president does) that America is strong, and we have nothing to fear. Perhaps we can find tiny threads of truth in very isolated examples, but let’s be honest. America was founded upon Christian principles and we have strayed so far off course that, frankly, we are fortunate that God’s grace has been extended to us this long. Honestly, I believe our Lord is simply honoring the prayers of faithful saints who consistently cry out for mercy for our nation. But friends, let’s face the facts:
- Over 57 million babies have been murdered since abortion became legal. In only a short while, that number will surpass 60 million. That is 10X the number of Jews exterminated in the holocaust. The holocaust was atrocious. What must God think of the murder of 60 million innocent babies?
- Same sex marriage is not only accepted by the majority of Americans now, but it is legal in at least 36 American states, Washington DC, and 21 Native American tribal jurisdictions. Sodom and Gomorrah faced destruction for similar behavior. Do you think God condones that, simply because American law allows it?
- America’s national debt and federal budget deficits are growing so fast the number make your head swim. Don’t believe me? Take a moment to look at the US Debt Clock. Now, I would question whether or not all those numbers are certifiably accurate (particularly in real time). But once you get into billions and trillions, it is bad! Our national debt is over $18 trillion, and the federal budget faces over a $5.5 trillion deficit (not counting underfunded Social Security, Medicare, etc). Is God a genie in a bottle that will bail us out when our entire economic system blows up following horrific mismanagement?
- Genesis 12:3 and Joel 3:2 warn that those who bless Israel will be blessed, those who curse Israel will be cursed, and those who divide her land will face judgment. Our government is certainly not on the right side of that equation at the moment. Shall we expect God to turn a blind eye to His promises?
Obviously, we could go on, but you get the picture. If you are a Christian reading this, I implore you to do two things: pray for a third great awakening in our nation, and sound the alarm! Where are you at personally in your relationship with Jesus Christ? Let’s all examine and get right in whatever area He convicts us. What are you doing to warn others? The enemy has set up camp just outside our walls…and in some areas has already infiltrated. Jesus is coming back soon and we must be ready.
But here is the most important message you can give: in many ways, this world is hopeless. We can’t unwind the clock to save 57 million babies. We may be past the point of no return in balancing the national budget and getting out of debt. However, Jesus Christ, our Blessed Hope, is coming soon! Nothing in this world compares to Him, and we must be ready for His coming.
Will you encourage a friend today? Will you shout the warning to those you know? How about contacting your Congressman? Will you pray fervently for our nation and our leaders? We are all watchmen on the wall and, personally, I don’t want to stand before my Savior one day with blood on my hands, knowing I kept quiet and allowed others to perish. What about you?