God gives us a great picture of the role of a prophet: he is to be a watchman. What was a watchman in the ancient Near East? He was the one who stood on guard at the most strategic point of the city and was on the lookout for impending danger. When a potential threat approached, the watchman's responsibility was to report the danger by word of mouth or by sounding a trumpet. That was the watchman's entire job. It was not his responsibility to make sure the troops were rallied or that people were moved to safe places. As long as he followed through with his warning, the watchman was absolved of any responsibility for the aftermath of the people's actions. If he did not warn the people, however, his blood was expected in exchange for theirs. God called Ezekiel to be a watchman for the Israelites as it come to their spiritual state. He was to watch over them and let them know of impending danger. As long as he fulfilled his duties, he was not responsible for Israel's choice.
There is a strong lesson to be learned from this because there are times when we want to force people to do the right thing. For me specifically, I am often able to see how people's actions will hurt them in the future and set them up for more hardship. But I cannot make them do what is right. I can warn them and walk beside them, but I cannot choose for them. God is not interested in puppets who are forced to do His bidding. Love cannot be love unless there is a choice involved, and the watchman cannot force people to heed his warnings.