Ezekiel wrote his book while in captivity in Babylon. The book starts by saying in Ezekiel 1:1, “Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I WAS AMONG THE CAPTIVES by the river of Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God.” Ezekiel was given an incredible vision where he saw “the likeness of the glory of the LORD.” (Verse 28). The Lord sent Ezekiel to the house of Judah and Israel with a message of warning. We read in Ezekiel 3:17-19, “Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.”

Now, let’s move to chapter 33. In this chapter, the Lord reiterates to Ezekiel his mission. We read in Ezekiel 33:7-9, “So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me. When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.” How serious is this mission that the Lord tells Ezekiel if he did not warn the people, that the Lord would hold him accountable for the deaths of those who died in their sin.

The Lord had strictly warned His people in Ezekiel 24:23, “And your tires shall be upon your heads, and your shoes upon your feet: ye shall not mourn nor weep; but YE SHALL PINE AWAY FOR YOUR INIQUITIES, and mourn one toward another.” Now let’s read Ezekiel 33:10-11, “Therefore, O thou son of man, speak unto the house of Israel; Thus ye speak, saying, If our transgressions and our sins be upon us, and we pine away in them, how should we then live? Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?” The Lord had warned His people that they would pine away because of their iniquities, or sins. In verse 10, they respond asking what chance of living would they have since they were pining away because of their sins. What a wonderful response from the Lord in verse 10, affirming to them that He would not be pleased at all with their death. Indeed, the Lord’s desire is that they would turn away from their wicked ways and live. How precious it is to realize that the Lord never rejoices in the death of the unsaved. He wants them to turn to Him in faith, be saved, and receive eternal life. That was the Lord’s desire for Israel, that’s the Lord’s desire for each one of us today. He asks that searching question, “Why will ye die?” There is no reason for anyone to die in their sins. The Lord wants to save everyone. We read in 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, NOT WILLING THAT ANY SHOULD PERISH, but that all should come to repentance.”

Let’s now consider the grave warning we find in verse 13, “When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousnesses shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it.” If a person relies upon his own ‘works of righteousness’, or his good deeds to redeem himself, he will die in his sin. It is sin to trust in our own righteous acts. Most of us are familiar with Isaiah 64:6 which says, “But we are all as an unclean thing, and ALL OUR RIGHTEOUSNESSES ARE AS FILTHY RAGS…” The Lord is so clear about this. Those who are truly righteous through faith in the Lord Jesus shall SURELY LIVE. Those who depend upon their own righteousness shall SURELY DIE.   Even as Ezekiel was charged with warning the Israelites of their sins, YOU HAVE NOW BEEN WARNED. If you continue in sin, trusting your own works, you will perish! Titus 3:5 says, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost. My dear reader, DO NOT trust in your own works. That will never save you. Trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. He will be merciful to you. He will save you! (257.4)