Ezekiel 33

1The word of the Lord came to me. He said, 2“Son of man, speak to your people. Say to them, 'I might bring enemy soldiers to fight against this country. When that happens people choose a man to be the watchman. 3If this guard sees the enemy soldiers coming, then he blows the trumpet and warns the people. 4If people hear the warning but ignore it, then the enemy will capture them and take them away as prisoners. That person will be responsible for his own death. 5He heard the trumpet, but he ignored the warning. So he is to blame for his death. If he had paid attention to the warning, then he could have saved his own life. 6“'But maybe that guard sees the enemy soldiers coming, but does not blow the trumpet. That guard did not warn the people. The enemy will capture them and take them away as prisoners. That person will be taken away because he sinned. But the guard will also be responsible for that man’s death.’ 7“Now, Son of man, I am choosing you to be a watchman for the family of Israel. If you hear a message from my mouth, you must warn the people for me. 8I might say to you, 'This evil person will die.’ Then you must go warn that person for me. If you don’t warn that evil person and tell him to change his life, then that evil person will die because he sinned. But I will make you responsible for his death. 9But if you do warn the evil person to change his life and stop sinning, and if he refuses to stop sinning, then he will die because he sinned. But you have saved your life. 10“So, Son of man, speak to the family of Israel for me. Those people might say, 'We have sinned and broken the law. Our sins are too heavy to bear. We rot away because of those sins. What can we do to live?’ 11“You must say to them, 'The Lord my Master says: On my life, I promise, I don’t enjoy seeing people die—not even evil people! I don’t want them to die. I want those evil people to come back to me. I want them to change their lives so they can really live! So come back to me! Stop doing bad things! Why must you die, family of Israel?’ 12“And Son of man, say to your people: 'The good things a person did in the past won’t save him if he becomes bad and begins to sin. And the bad things a person did in the past won’t destroy him if he turns from his evil. So remember, the good things a person did in the past won’t save him if he begins to sin.’ 13“Maybe I will tell a good person that he will live. But maybe that good person will begin to think that the good things he did in the past will save him. So he might begin to do bad things. But I won’t remember the good things he did in the past! No, he will die because of the bad things he begins to do. 14“Or maybe I will tell a bad person that he will die. But he might change his life. He might stop sinning and begin to live right. He might become good and fair. 15He might give back the things he took when he loaned money. He might pay for the things he stole. He might begin to follow the laws that give life. He stops doing bad things. Then that person will surely live. He won’t die. 16I won’t remember the bad things he did in the past. Why? Because now he lives right and is fair. So he will live! 17“But your people say, 'That’s not fair! ˻The Lord˼ my Master can’t be like that!’ “But they are the people that are not fair! They are the people who must change! 18If a good person stops doing good things and begins to sin, then he will die because of his sins. 19And if an evil person stops doing bad things and begins to live right and be fair, then he will live! 20But you people still say that I am not fair. But I am telling you the truth. Family of Israel, each person will be judged for the things he does!” 21On the fifth day of the tenth month ˻(January)˼ in the twelfth year ˻of exile˼, a person came to me from Jerusalem. He had escaped from the battle there. He said, “The city ˻(Jerusalem)˼ has been taken!” 22Now the power of the Lord my Master had come on me the evening before that person came to me. ˻God made me not able to speak.˼ At the time that person came to me, the Lord had opened my mouth and let me speak again. 23Then the word of the Lord came to me. He said, 24“Son of man, there are Israelite people living in the ruined cities in Israel. Those people are saying, 'Abraham was only one man, and God gave him all this land. Now, we are many people, so surely this land belongs to us! It is our land!’ 25“You must tell them that the Lord and Master says these things, 'You eat meat with the blood still in it. You look to your idols for help. You murder people. So why should I give you this land? 26You depend on your own sword. Each of you does terrible things. Each of you does sexual sins with his neighbor’s wife. So you cannot have the land!’ 27“'You must tell them that the Lord and Master says these things, “On my life I promise, those people living in those ruined cities will be killed with a sword! If anyone is out in the country, I will let animals kill him and eat him. If people are hiding in the fortresses and the caves, they will die from disease. 28I will make the land empty and a waste. That country will lose all the things it was proud of. The mountains of Israel will become empty. No one will pass through that place. 29Those people have done many terrible things. So I will make that land an empty wasteland. Then these people will know that I am the Lord.” 30“'And now, about you, Son of man. Your people lean against the walls and stand in their doorways talking about you. They tell each other, “Come on, let’s go hear what the Lord says.” 31So they come to you like they are my people. They sit in front of you like they are my people. They hear your words. But they won’t do the things you say. They only want to do what feels good. They only want to cheat people and make more money. 32“'You are nothing to these people but a singer singing love songs. You have a good voice. You play your instrument well. They hear your words, but they won’t do the things you say. 33But the things you sing about really will happen. And then the people will know that there really was a prophet living among them!’”

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