I find myself surprised and delighted by what I am finding in this book of Ezekiel, which I knew so little about. I am surprised to find so much here that I already recognise from the teachings of Jesus in the Gospels. Of course I shouldn’t be surprised as Jesus wasn’t making up new scripture when he taught, he simply revisited the scriptures as they were, and revealed the truth in them which had been ignored and buried beneath centuries of jewish dogma and tradition. In my experience, it is a commonly held belief, mostly among non believers who haven’t actually read the Bible for themselves, that the God of the Old Testament is an angry, unforgiving God who delights in violently demonstrating his power with great acts of wrath and destruction. But, although these things are recorded throughout the Bible, Today’s passage clearly shows that this view of God is a false one. God wants us to live because of the righteousness that flows from obedience to his word. However, for those who can’t or won’t obey, there is only a slow and terrifying death caused by a life of unrepentant sin.
Ezekiel 18:19-24 NLT
“‘What?’ you ask. ‘Doesn’t the child pay for the parent’s sins?’ No! For if the child does what is just and right and keeps my decrees, that child will surely live. The person who sins is the one who will die. The child will not be punished for the parent’s sins, and the parent will not be punished for the child’s sins. Righteous people will be rewarded for their own righteous behaviour, and wicked people will be punished for their own wickedness. But if wicked people turn away from all their sins and begin to obey my decrees and do what is just and right, they will surely live and not die. All their past sins will be forgotten, and they will live because of the righteous things they have done. “Do you think that I like to see wicked people die? says the Sovereign Lord. Of course not! I want them to turn from their wicked ways and live. However, if righteous people turn from their righteous behaviour and start doing sinful things and act like other sinners, should they be allowed to live? No, of course not! All their righteous acts will be forgotten, and they will die for their sins.
The message is a familiar one, and yet I have been surprised to find it here. Well before Jesus, the message was there for all to read and act upon. But it took Jesus to come and demonstrate the truth of God’s Word right among us, right in front of men standing right next to him for the truth to dawn. I have only just found the treasure in the Bible, but it had always been there. My goal, therefore is to try to demonstrate that there is nothing to fear from reading the Holy Scriptures. This life versus death idea, this obedience versus sin dilemma comes down to one simple truth. Life is full and rich when you include God but it is like a dead and empty shell when you leave him out.
Ezekiel 18:1-19:14, Hebrews 9:1-10, Psalms 106:32-48, Proverbs 27:10