The LORD's word came to me:
Human one, speak to your people and say to them: Suppose I bring a sword against a country, and the people of the land take a certain person from their assembly and make him their lookout.
When he sees the sword coming against the land, he blows the trumpet and warns the people.
If they hear the sound of the trumpet but don't heed the warning, when the sword comes and they are taken away, they are responsible for their blood.
They heard the sound of the trumpet but didn't heed the warning, so their blood is on them. If they had paid attention to the warning, they would have saved their lives.
If the lookout sees the sword coming but doesn't blow the trumpet to warn the people, when the sword comes and takes away any of them, they are taken away in their sin, but I'll hold the lookout responsible for their blood.
You, human one, I've made you a lookout for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear me speaking, you must give them warning from me.
If I pronounce a death sentence on wicked people, and you don't warn them to turn from their way, they will die in their guilt, but I will hold you responsible for their blood.
But suppose you do warn the wicked of their ways so that they might turn from them. If they don't turn from their ways, they will die in their guilt, but you will save your life.
You, human one, say to the house of Israel: This is what all of you are saying: "How our transgressions and our sins weigh on us! We waste away because of them. How can we live?"
Say to them, This is what the LORD God says: As surely as I live, do I take pleasure in the death of the wicked? If the wicked turn from their ways, they will live. Turn, completely turn from your wicked ways! Why should you die, house of Israel?
You, human one, say to your people: The righteousness of the righteous doesn't rescue them when they begin to sin. Nor does the wickedness of the wicked make them stumble if they turn from their wickedness. If the righteous sin, their righteousness won't protect them.
Even if I've told the righteous they will live, none of their righteous deeds will be remembered if they trust in their righteousness and do wrong. They will die because of their evil deeds.
And even if I have pronounced a death sentence on the wicked, if they turn from sin and do what is just and right—
if they return pledges, make restitution for robbery, and walk in life-giving regulations in order not to sin—they will live and not die.
None of the sins they've committed will be remembered against them. They've done what is just and right, and they will live.
Yet your people say, "My Lord's way doesn't measure up." Isn't it their ways that don't measure up?
When the righteous turn from their righteousness to do wrong, they will die because of it.
And when the wicked turn from their wickedness to do what is just and right, it is for that reason they will live.
Yet you say, "My Lord's way doesn't measure up." I judge each one of you according to your ways, house of Israel!