Responsibility And Accountability

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God had a rather simple message for Ezekiel, “The word of the Lord came to me: ‘Son of man, speak to your people’” (Ezekiel 33:1–2). 

I find that pronoun “your“ intriguing because you would think that God would say, “My people.” They are indeed God’s people, but God had set Ezekiel apart as His watchman (vv. 7–20), so Ezekiel had to take personal responsibility for the people. They were to be treated and spoken to as though they were indeed his people. 

This idea of responsibility gets a little tricky for some leaders because, with the responsibility to their people, they usually feel they are accountable to their people as well. 

But in the next few verses, God makes it clear that Ezekiel must be accountable to God alone.

Responsible to his people. Accountable to his God. 

When we start feeling we are accountable to people, we can get distracted, discouraged, or derailed by their unpleasant responses. 

Notice that when Jesus spoke pleasing words to people, everyone spoke well of Him. But when He pointed out to them the words of God they were ignoring, they were ready to kill Him. 

People are fickle—they sing praises when they hear those words they like, and they are ready to attack the messenger when the words are upsetting. 

A mark of a godly leader is one who has a clear understanding of his responsibility and his accountability.

When you are God’s leader, He will entrust people to your care and He will entrust His message for those people to you. You are now responsible to deliver His message to your people. You are then accountable to God alone for delivering His message. Be responsible to people, accountable to God, and be careful not to mix the two. 

This is part 66 in my series on godly leadership. You can check out all of my posts in this series by clicking here.

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No Excuses

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on AppleSpotify, or Audible. 

…so my mouth was opened and I was no longer silent (Ezekiel 33:22). 

Ezekiel had been mute for two years, as God was using Ezekiel as a very vivid illustrated sermon.

Ezekiel had been mute, but he hadn’t been silent. 

After God had taken away his voice, Ezekiel picked up his pen and wrote chapters 25–32 as prophetic warnings. It was after all of these warnings were written down that God renewed His call to Ezekiel to be His watchman (33:7 and 3:17). 

How many times do I want to check out because I am not able to do things as I had been doing them before? Any one of us can fall into that all-or-nothing mindset—if I can’t do everything as I have been doing it, I won’t do anything at all. 

Ezekiel teaches us three important lessons: 

  1. No complaints to God 
  2. No excuses for discontinuing his ministry 
  3. Full obedience to God’s call on his life

What an outstanding lesson for all of us! 

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12 Blessings While Going Through A Valley

Watch overValley times come to all people. Even Christians.

The Songs Of Ascent in the Psalms imply this, since the pilgrims are ascending from a valley to the place of worship in Jerusalem. But this idea of going through a valley is especially seen in Psalm 121.

The song starts by saying I lift my eyes up to the hills. He then sings that he found his help in God. This idea of help is not what we think of in today’s world. It’s not like dialing 9-1-1, reporting our need, and waiting for help to arrive. It’s not even like driving to a hospital, checking into the emergency room, and waiting for a doctor to see us.

The idea of help in the Bible is a picture of surrounding. It’s not something we have to wait to arrive, but something—or should I say Someone—Who is already right there!

In verses 4-8 the phrase watch over is used five times. This too gives us the idea of the closeness of our help. The Hebrew word translated watch over has four powerful word pictures:

  1. A Gardener carefully watching over his precious garden.
  2. A Soldier dutifully guarding a valuable treasure.
  3. A Watchman diligently scanning the horizon for any approaching enemies.
  4. A Shepherd lovingly attending to his flock.

I especially like the picture of shepherd, because of another valley reference. The opening words to Psalm 23 are, “The Lord is my Shepherd.” Then we read what the Good Shepherd does for His sheep when they are in the Valley of the Shadow of Death. Our Shepherd…

  1. Gives us His confidence so we will fear no evil
  2. Reveals His close, intimate presence
  3. Protects us with His rod
  4. Guides us with His staff
  5. Brings comfort to our hurts
  6. Provides us with food
  7. Anoints us with His blessings
  8. Pours out His overflowing blessings
  9. Allows His goodness and love to always follow us
  10. Gives us the assurance of eternal life

Then adding a couple of more blessings from Psalm 121, we see He…

11.  Never lets our foot slip (121:3)

12. Never sleeps or slumbers, so that we can rest securely (121:3-4)

Remember these songs of ascent are sung by those coming out of the valley. They are sung to remind us of God’s deliverance, they are also sung as encouragement to those still in the Valley.

Keep singingJesus went through the darkest Valley anyone has ever gone through. It wasn’t just the valley of the shadow of death, He went through death, hell and the grave. He overcame for you and me! He now walks with us in our valleys. He says to us, “I’ve been there, done that, and have the scars to prove it. I will never leave you or forsake you. I know this valley. I know how to get you out of this valley. Trust Me!”

We, too, who have been through the valleys and are now singing the song of ascent, need to sing loudly for those who are still in the valleys. We need to sing songs of assurance to them: “I have been in that same valley. I know how dark it is. But I know God watched over me and brought me safely through. Now I have a much better vantage point. And I say to you, trust Him! He is watching over you too. He will not let your foot slip. He will not sleep or slumber. He will protect you, and anoint you, and feed you, and give you His own dear presence. Don’t stop walking!”

If you’ve missed any of the messages in this series, you can access the complete list by clicking here.

Links & Quotes

link quote

“When something drops into your life that seems to threaten your future, remember this: The first shock waves of the bomb are not sin. The real danger is yielding to them. Giving in. Putting up no spiritual fight. And the root of that surrender is unbelief—a failure to fight for faith in future grace. A failure to cherish all that God promises to be for us in Jesus.” —John Piper

“The ultimate test of man’s conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard.” —Gaylord Nelson

My fellow pastors, may this be said of us: “Even now the Lord is raising up godly watchmen to speak for Him in these times. These shepherds are grieving, weeping and repenting as they seek God’s face. And I believe they’re hearing and understanding the Lord’s message behind the present events. Moreover, they’re not afraid to proclaim dire warnings, because they know they’ve heard from God. They’re compelled to speak of His purposes behind our calamities.” —David Wilkerson

“Who is doing exploits for God today? Where is the enemy being driven back? That is the great yearning of all spiritually-minded people. They are not enchanted with polished sermons and slick organizational technique. Where are the mighty men and women anointed by God to truly make a difference?” —Jim Cymbala

Good read for anyone in church leadership: 10 Fine Lines Of Church Leadership Tension.

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