TODAY’S READING: Ezekiel 31–33
God makes the nations “great.” He made Egypt beautiful so that all the trees of Eden envied it (Eze. 31:9). God made Egypt fall, delivering her into the hand of “the mighty one of the nations” and casting her down into hell (vv. 11, 16). The God of Israel made the nations shake at the sound of Egypt’s fall, troubling and astonishing many peoples so that they trembled for their own lives every moment (32:9–10). God’s judgments reveal that all nations who resist His glorious rule will end in hell with their weapons of war, for He will cause His terror in the land of the living (vv. 27, 32).
The judging of all proud and unrepentant nations to hell is the context for the watchman passages of Ezekiel 33. Indeed, we are to warn all nations of God’s looming judgment, and if we do not, their blood will be on our head (v. 6). The judging of all proud and unrepentant nations to hell is the context of God declaring He has no pleasure in the death of the wicked and that His ways are eminently fair (vv. 11, 17–20). The missionary message is simple: Hell is real, God’s people are assigned to warn about hell, God does not want anyone to go to hell, and if anyone does go to hell, it is because God is fair. Woe to us if we complicate God’s simple message by failing to articulate it.
As is always true in God’s punitive measures, the goal is redemption.
There is…a tremendous universality about Ezekiel’s passion for the knowledge of God. The one thing that burns throughout his whole book is the certainty that YHWH will be known as God—by Israel and by the nations. The phrase “then you (they) will know that I am YHWH” is virtually Ezekiel’s signature—occurring some eighty times in his prophetic memoir… It means that the nations will come to the decisive and irrevocable knowledge that YHWH alone is the true and living God, unique in His identity, universal in His rule, and unchallenged in His power.
Ezekiel was a missionary prophet because his hope and certainty was that all the nations will know that Jehovah, the God of Israel, is the only true God. In every oracle, this invitation to the nations issued forth from Ezekiel’s missionary mouth. To be firm on the reality of hell, to warn all peoples of God’s judgment, and to remind all nations that God does not want anyone to eternally suffer in hell is the most loving use of our earthly lives. God’s desire that all nations know Him is not a transitory one. It’s not a longing for a time-bound relationship for the few short days of earth. It’s the eternal heart of heaven longing for all peoples to enjoy full and free relationship with their Creator. If we take nothing else from missionary-minded Ezekiel, let us commit to love enough to warn the Yemeni and all peoples of earth of the danger of eternal death and the promise of eternal life.
 Christopher J. H. Wright. The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2006. 100–101.