Case in Point

Icon

This blog site will feature essays, columns and musings that deal with the intersection of Christianity and journalism and the American Songbook.

Christian journalist: You are the “watchman” for the Church (Ezekiel 3 and 33)

Ezekiel 3:17, “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me” (cf, 33:7).

Exegesis and Application

This verse is pregnant with meaning for the Christian journalist in our time. A close look at this divine statement to the prophet should bear some fruit.

First is the phrase “son of man.” In the Hebrew it is the straightforward “adam-ben” or “son of Adam.” The phrase is used in Ezekiel over 90 times and always refers to Ezekiel. The phrase is used later in Daniel and in the New Testament by Jesus in reference to the messianic mission of our Lord. But not in Ezekiel. Robert Baker Girdlestone simply states that the phrase designates a child of Adam by descent; a human man. The Old Testament linguist, C. F. Nosgen states that the phrase “expresses the contrast between what Ezekiel is in himself and what God will make out of him, and to make his mission appear to him not as his own, but as the work of God, and thus to life him up whenever the flesh threatens to faint and fail” (Christ: Son of Man and Son of God).

Second is the verb “made,” or “appoint” or “set” and is the Hebrew term “natan.” This term usually refers to define appointments rather than human appointments. Thus Abraham, Moses, David, Jeremiah and now Ezekiel all have divine appointments to bear witness to the Old Testament Church of God. The passage conveys God’s sovereign call for the journalist to be a witness (cf, Is. 8:1-2). Jeremiah sees his “appointment” as a watchman (6:17) as an analyst or examiner (“tester”) of the Church as well as a prophet to the nations (Jer. 6:27). Maybe there is some of this in Ezekiel’s appointment.

Third and the most interesting term in this verse is the noun “watchman” (cf, 2 Sam. 18:24; 2 Kings 9:17; Ps. 127:1; Song 3:3; Isaiah 21:11; Jer. 6:17; Hos. 9:8; Habb. 2:1; Micah 7:4). The Hebrew word translated “watchman” in these books comes from the root “sopeh” which means “to watch,” “observe,” “look out,” “take heed,” “pay attention.” Earlier, with Jeremiah (6:17) Yahweh had given His great prophets the additional responsibility of being “watchmen” for their communities. Much can be said about the watchman” and this appointment is unique because Ezekiel’s duties are specified (chp. 33), so let me itemize some key points:

1) The watchman must be placed in a prominent place from which to view his environment. Thus the watchman must be circumspect in his own life and able to withstand the scrutiny of those for whom he is watching. Those for whom he is watching are watching him.

2) The watchman is watching on behalf of the whole community. This was a government appointment. He sees everything and must warn about impending danger to everyone. Calvin states that he “keeps watch for the common safety of all,” primarily the people of God but secondarily for all the people. If the Church is harmed, the entire community will be harmed (cf, Gal. 6:10; Rom. 1:14; 1 Tim. 4:10).

3) Watchman must be gifted with the power of observation and understanding in order to accurately assess the danger coming because he is to “speak out and dissuade” from evil. But he is also to spread good news (Is. 52:8) and to encourage, uplift and praise.

4) Watchmen are not only looking out for foreign invaders but also internal invaders what will rot the community with within. Integrity, courage and insight are necessary gifts for the watchman. The watchman must know what to watch for and how to tell danger from peculiarity.

5) Watchmen are not only to warn against physical danger but also moral danger –siege and sin. They are responsible for the body and the soul of the community.

6) The watchman is not only stationed on roofs (2 Sam. 18:24) and towers (2 Kings 9;17) but he also walks around town mingling amongst the people (Song 3:3) observing and paying attention to what is going on.

7) In Ezekiel 33) we are told that if a warning is given and a citizen chooses not to respond then the consequences are on the head of the citizen. But if the watchman fails to warn and harm results to the individual then the watchman will be held responsible. The frightening aspect of this later warning is that the enemy of the wicked who have been warned to change their ways is Yahweh Himself. He is the avenging angel who will judge the unrighteous who fail to heed the warning of the watchman. The message, the blast of the trumpet, is to the thoughtless sinner, to the intransigent sinner and to the repentant sinner all to come back to Yahweh. The message is personal and individualistic and each citizen must respond by himself (“each of you according to his own ways,” vs. 20).

Fourth and finally, we have the phrase “hear the word I speak” which is literally “from my mouth.” Leslie Allen translates it “hear a message from my lips.” Calvin has uniquely long commentary on this phrase and because it is singular I quote: “Here is a general rule for [God’s representatives] they should hear the word from the mouth of God, by which particle God wishes to exclude whatever men fabricate or invent for themselves. ….He order all men to be silent and not to offer anything of their own, and then, when he orders them to hear the word from his mouth, that he puts a bridle upon them that they should neither invent anything, nor hanker after their own devices, nor dare to conceive either more or less that the word. We see that whatever men offer of their own selves, is here abolished, when God alone wishes to be heard, for he does not mingle himself here with others as in a crowd, as if he wished to be heard only in part.”

Christian journalist, this is a terrific verse for those of you who write for Christian publications. Your charge has been given to you by your Master. Be careful to be faithful to the ordinances, laws, commandments and instructions of the Lord contained in the Bible as you frame your stories and be courageous in your reporting. The Church depends upon it. It is reported that the last public words of warning to be spoken by Francis Schaeffer before he died in 1984 were in a Washington, DC speech written for the annual convention of the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB). Schaeffer was too sick to deliver the speech so his son, Frank gave the talk to the broadcasters: “Accommodation, accommodation, accommodation.”

Advertisements

Filed under: Uncategorized,

25 Responses

  1. Very inspiring article that spoke to my heart. As a Christian writer, with a passion for journalism, yet discouraged with the fluff of the mainstream Christian media, focused on celebrity and doctrine, rather than advancing the Gospel, biblical principals, and truths. This gave me new hope to continue the pursuit of integrity and purpose in Christian journalism. God Bless, C. Aaron Russell @ MenofMind.com

  2. Hey There. I found your weblog the usage of msn.
    This is a really neatly written article. I’ll make sure to bookmark it and come back to learn more of your helpful info. Thanks for the post. I’ll definitely comeback.

  3. Pretty section of content. I just stumbled upon your site and in accession capital to assert that I acquire in fact enjoyed account your blog posts.
    Anyway I will be subscribing to your augment and even I achievement you
    access consistently quickly.

  4. I am genuinely thankful to the holder of this web site who has shared this wonderful post at at this place.

  5. That is a very good tip particularly to those new to the blogosphere.
    Simple but very accurate info… Many thanks for sharing this
    one. A must read post!

  6. This is my first time go to see at here and i am genuinely pleassant to
    read all at alone place.

  7. Perry says:

    I like the helpful information you provide in your articles.

    I will bookmark your blog and check again here frequently.
    I’m quite certain I will learn many new stuff right here! Good luck for the next!

  8. youtube.com says:

    Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is a really well
    written article. I’ll make sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful information. Thanks for the post. I’ll
    certainly return.

  9. This blog was… how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I
    have found something that helped me. Thanks a lot!

  10. I like the valuable info you provide on your articles.
    I will bookmark your weblog and test again here frequently.
    I am fairly certain I will be informed many new stuff right here!

    Best of luck for the next!

  11. This post will help the internet viewers for setting up new weblog or
    even a weblog from start to end.

  12. Great blog here! Also your site loads up fast! What host are you using?
    Can I get your affiliate link to your host? I wish my site
    loaded up as quickly as yours lol

  13. Stefanie says:

    Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied
    on the video to make your point. You clearly know what youre talking about, why
    waste your intelligence on just posting videos to your site when you could be giving us something informative to
    read?

  14. Quality content is the key to invite the users to pay a quick visit the web site,
    that’s what this web page is providing.

  15. Blogspot.Com says:

    I love your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you make this website yourself or did you hire
    someone to do it for you? Plz respond as I’m looking to
    construct my own blog and would like to know where u got this
    from. thanks

  16. Apb Hack says:

    Hi there to every single one, it’s really a good for me to pay a quick visit this
    web site, it contains valuable Information.

  17. youtube.com says:

    I am sure this paragraph has touched all the internet viewers, its really really pleasant
    article on building up new website.

  18. La tube porno Que sublime chez s’est est plus

  19. I tend not to leave a response, but I read a ton of comments here Christian journalist: You are tthe “watchman”
    for the Church (Ezekiel 3 and 33) | Case in Point. I ddo have a few questions for you if you do not mind.
    Is it simply me or do some of these remarks look like they are written by brain dead folks?
    😛 And, if you are posting att additional sites, I’d like to follow everything new you have to post.
    Would you list of the complete urls of your social
    community sites like your linkedin profile, Facebook page or twitter feed?

  20. I for all time emailed this web site post page to all my contacts, because if like
    to read it then my contacts will too.

  21. garage doors says:

    These two forms of using the word’roll form’ will be
    used indistinguishably throughout this manuscript. In either case the hinge that holds the
    roller from the door panels must be removed to make the necessary door repair.
    These tend to be the noisiest of doors so bear this in mind if you have a
    bedroom above and need to use the door when people may be sleeping.

  22. Warner says:

    Wonderful article! That is the type of info that are supposed to be shared around the web.
    Disgrace on Google for not positioning this publish higher!
    Come on over and discuss with my web site . Thanks =)

  23. Great post. I was checking constantly this blog and I’m impressed!
    Very useful info specifically the last part 🙂 I care for such
    information much. I was looking for this particular info for a
    long time. Thank you and best of luck.

  24. Its like you read my mind! You seem to know a lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or something.
    I think that you can do with a few pics to drive the
    message home a bit, but instead of that, this is excellent blog.
    A fantastic read. I will certainly be back.

  25. For the past 5 days I was looking on the net in search of sites with any kind
    of stories about wp theme builder and discovered .
    Thank you for providing this helpful post. I really want to say thanks, this
    was exactly what I needed to read.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Pages

Archives

Posts by Robert Case

%d bloggers like this: