Ezekiel 33:7-11 (NRSV)
Verse 7So 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. Verse 8If 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. Verse 9But 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.
Verse 10Now 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?" Verse 11Say 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?
As I prepared to head out the door to go and hang out with friends one Friday night during my senior year of high school, my mom stopped me to give me a hug and say, “Now don’t go out drinking or anything like that tonight!” I laughed and responded, “Why would you say that to me?” My mom laughed too, because we both knew that just wasn’t something I would ever do. But it is the job of a mother to warn her children against danger. It is her job to teach, to guide, and to protect, because what she wants for her children is life. She is a sentinel for the house of those she loves, just as Ezekiel is the sentinel for the house of Israel, reminding them of who they are and whose they are, and warning them against coming danger. God sets Ezekiel as the sentinel to warn people against sin and wickedness, because what God wants for God’s children is not death but life.
Protector God, you warn us from danger and you show us the ways that will protect us from harm. Give us the strength and the will to turn away from temptations and sin so that we may have life abundant! Amen.