We live in a world that is bombarded with messages--from TV, Twitter, billboards, radio, podcasts, signs being wiggled at the side of the road, pundits, hawkers, magazines, movies, music videos, books, bumper stickers, tattoos, etc., etc.--the amount of information that assaults our senses is staggering.
We have a message that the world and we so desperately need to engage. Will we share it? Will we engage it? Will we live it?
7 So you, mortal, I have made a sentinel for the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. 8 If I say to the wicked, "O wicked ones, you shall surely die," and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from their ways, the wicked shall die in their iniquity, but their blood I will require at your hand. 9 But if you warn the wicked to turn from their ways, and they do not turn from their ways, the wicked shall die in their iniquity, but you will have saved your life. 10 Now you, mortal, say to the house of Israel, Thus you have said: "Our transgressions and our sins weigh upon us, and we waste away because of them; how then can we live?" 11 Say to them, As I live, says the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from their ways and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways; for why will you die, O house of Israel?
This verse talks about the accountability of the messenger first and the message second.
For the purposes of this devotion I would like to take them in reverse order.
The Lord says I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from their ways and live...
God doesn't take pleasure in the death of those who are wicked. It isn't necessarily clear if the death is merely a physical death or if perhaps it is referring to a broader and deeper death. Regardless, the point is that God doesn't take pleasure in the death--whatever sort--of those who are wicked. God would prefer that they would repent and live. We and others who are wicked don't return to God under our own strength and effort. God can and does work repentance in us. God takes pleasure in amended lives and repentant ways. The message that we and the world needs to engage is that God wants us to turn and live--and that God will help us do just that.
But if you warn the wicked to turn from their ways and they do not turn from their ways, the wicked shall die in their iniquity, but you will have saved your life.
The message we have--offering God's love and assistance in repenting--needs to be heard. If we do not speak this message to the wicked--to us and to the world--then we share culpability in the death. If we do speak this message our lives will be saved. Perhaps our lives will be saved because in speaking this message of God's love and desire for repentance we will hear it again and again and again. We will live because we will be immersed in the message of God's love. We will live because we will be immersed in God's call to repentance. We will live because in the speaking comes the hearing comes the hope comes the faith.
God, you take no pleasure in the death of those trapped in wickedness. You take joy in life. Help us delight you by coming to life through your love and through the repentance you enable and you desire. Help us delight you by sharing that hopeful message to a world so desperately seeking hope. Be glorified and draw us all into your life. Amen.