November 16: “The Hope of Warning the Wayward”

7 Minute Read

Be Still

To the best of your ability, get rid of all distractions. Take a couple of minutes to breathe deeply, to quiet yourself in the Lord’s presence. Then, prayerfully ask the Lord to speak to you in this time and let Him know that you will be listening and will make whatever adjustments He will reveal to you.

Today’s Bible Reading:

Ezekiel 33:1–34:31
Hebrews 13:1-25
Psalm 115:1-18
Proverbs 27:21-22

Listen to the Lord

Slowly and reflectively read the following verses and listen to what God will say to you through them. Then, consider writing down any insights He reveals to you.

Ezekiel 33:11 (NLT): “As surely as I live, says the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of wicked people. I only want them to turn from their wicked ways so they can live. Turn! Turn from your wickedness, O people of Israel! Why should you die?”

Reflections from Scripture:

As we read through the Bible, we cannot help but realize that God loathes sin. And, as we continue to read, we also cannot help but recognize that God is just and must punish sin (Exodus 34:7; Numbers 14:8; Nahum 1:3; etc.).

Yet, if we are not careful, we may come to the erroneous conclusion that God delights in punishing the wicked sinner. We may assume that sending the wicked off to their eternal doom in Hell gives Him pleasure.

But that’s where Ezekiel 33:1 informs and corrects us. Our God loves the people of the world. While He finds delight in exercising justice, He finds no pleasure in sending someone to an eternity in Hell. He would much rather have them turn from their sin and turn to Him.

Ezekiel 33:11 (NLT): “As surely as I live, says the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of wicked people. I only want them to turn from their wicked ways so they can live. Turn! Turn from your wickedness, O people of Israel! Why should you die?”

But, how does God warn the wicked? How does He call them back? Friend, that’s your and my job. He wants us to be His mouthpiece to compassionately call people to the cross of Jesus where they can be forgiven and cleansed.

And this is no small matter. So, as I bring this post to its end, let me share what God says about our responsibility of helping sinners to turn from their ways. We have been given the Gospel. Are we sharing it?

Ezekiel 33:7-9 (NLT): “Now, son of man, I am making you a watchman for the people of Israel. Therefore, listen to what I say and warn them for me. If I announce that some wicked people are sure to die and you fail to tell them to change their ways, then they will die in their sins, and I will hold you responsible for their deaths. But if you warn them to repent and they don’t repent, they will die in their sins, but you will have saved yourself.”

Spend Time in Prayer

Lord Jesus, thank You for being a God that is just and yet is also full of grace and mercy. Thank You that You find no delight in punishing even the most wicked of people. Thank You that Your heart’s desire is to forgive, save, and use former “sinners” for Your glorious purposes. Help me, Lord, to have Your eyes for the people around me. And help me be willing and able to share the Gospel with the people I run into today. I pray this in Your Name, Amen.


Matt Ellis is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Polk City, Florida (fbcpolkcity.com). His latest book is God’s Grace in the Real World. Connect with him on FacebookTwitter, or LinkedIn.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

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I have an incredible wife that God gave to me on May 10, 1997. Since then, the Lord has blessed us with three wonderful boys. I am also the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Polk City, Florida.

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