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The Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost A, September 10, 2023

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The Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost A, September 10, 2023

Sentinels, watchmen, sentries—all serve important functions during times of war and conflict.  They keep watch for the coming of the enemy.  They sound the alarm and warn the people when the enemy is sighted.  The forewarned people have opportunity to prepare their defenses or to escape the oncoming adversary.

The Lord appoints Ezekiel to the work of sentinel.  He is to announce the coming of the enemy upon the house of Israel.  The coming enemy is none other than the Lord who is visiting wrath and judgment upon his people.  Ezekiel is to listen to the Word the Lord is giving him.  When the Lord says “wrath,” Ezekiel must say so to the people.  When the Lord says “mercy,” Ezekiel must say so to the people.  Ezekiel’s word is the Word of the Lord.

The Lord continues to appoint people to the work of sentinel—people to serve as watchmen and sentries.  The person called to be pastor is one so appointed.  The pastor listens to the Word that the Lord gives.  Then the pastor delivers that Word—either wrath or mercy—to the people.  The Lord’s Word kills and makes alive.  It puts the wicked to death, ending their miserable existence.  It raises those dead sinners to the newness of life in Christ.  In this way your pastor delivers the Word of the Lord as the preaching of Law and Gospel.  People hear it as command and promise:  Die, sinner!  Rise up, oh saints of God!  In the face of God’s wrath revealed through the commandments, God delivers mercy in the person of Jesus Christ who is the Gospel promise.

Table Talk:  Discuss the importance of sentinels.  How do the commands and promises of the Lord work upon you?

Prayer:  Father, reveal our sin so we may confess and be forgiven them in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen

Ezekiel 33:7-9

7 So you, son of man, I have made a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. 8 If I say to the wicked, O wicked one, you shall surely die, and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from his way, that wicked person shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. 9 But if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, that person shall die in his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul.

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