3:12-21 This mission made the holy angels rejoice. All this was to convince Ezekiel, that the God who sent him had power to bear him out in his work. He was overwhelmed with grief for the sins and miseries of his people, and overpowered by the glory of the vision he had seen. And however retirement, meditation, and communion with God may be sweet, the servant of the Lord must prepare to serve his generation. The Lord told the prophet he had appointed him a watchman to the house of Israel. If we warn the wicked, we are not chargeable with their ruin. Though such passages refer to the national covenant made with Israel, they are equally to be applied to the final state of all men under every dispensation. We are not only to encourage and comfort those who appear to be righteous, but they are to be warned, for many have grown high-minded and secure, have fallen, and even died in their sins. Surely then the hearers of the gospel should desire warnings, and even reproofs.
20. righteous … turn from … righteousness—not one "righteous" as to the root and spirit of regeneration (Ps 89:33; 138:8; Isa 26:12; 27:3; Joh 10:28; Php 1:6), but as to its outward appearance and performances. So the "righteous" (Pr 18:17; Mt 9:13). As in Eze 3:19 the minister is required to lead the wicked to good, so in Eze 3:20 he is to confirm the well-disposed in their duty.
commit iniquity—that is, give himself up wholly to it (1Jo 3:8, 9), for even the best often fall, but not wilfully and habitually.
I lay a stumbling-block—not that God tempts to sin (Jas 1:13, 14), but God gives men over to judicial blindness, and to their own corruptions (Ps 9:16, 17; 94:23) when they "like not to retain God in their knowledge" (Ro 1:24, 26); just as, on the contrary, God makes "the way of the righteous plain" (Pr 4:11, 12; 15:19), so that they do "not stumble." Calvin refers "stumbling-block" not to the guilt, but to its punishment; "I bring ruin on him." The former is best. Ahab, after a kind of righteousness (1Ki 21:27-29), relapsed and consulted lying spirits in false prophets; so God permitted one of these to be his "stumbling-block," both to sin and its corresponding punishment (1Ki 22:21-23).
his blood will I require—(Heb 13:17).