Printed scripture text: Ezekiel 18:1-9, 30-32
Ezekiel’s personal name means “God will strengthen”. Ezekiel was a sixth-century B.C. prophet who ministered to the Judean exiles in Babylon. Ezekiel was a prophet and priest who received oracles from God and passed them on to the people. The prophet lived during the Babylonian exile and was carried away as a captive with Jehoiachin.
Chapter eighteen, Ezekiel writes about how God deals with people according to their personal acts of sin or righteousness. God is an all-knowing God, who knows everything; our intentions, actions and the outcome. God’s righteousness is perfect and just!
The prophets had warned of God’s judgment for generations. Because of that, the captives blamed their ancestors for their problems. They complained that God was punishing them for something their parents had done. However, they failed to realize they were even worse than their ancestors. They remembered only the sins of the past, but forgetting their sins of the present. Too often people focus more on others sins and not on their own sins. God through Ezekiel reminds the people of His sovereignty and forbade Judah’s complaining.
First, He reminds them that He is God. He is in charge, and if the people were living in faith they would recognize His work. Also, He is in charge of their souls.
Secondly, God assures them that only those individuals who rebel against Him will die. God is merciful to forgive anyone who repents of their sin and turn to Him. God is faithful to His word and changes not.
God reminds His people what is righteous. God requires people to live according to His standards and obey His commandments; to love God and your neighbors as yourself. Knowing what is right and doing what is right are quite different. God’s righteousness demands both knowing Him and living according to His word.
Thirdly, the prophet warns the people to take personal responsibility for their actions because God does not enjoy punishing the wicked. God sends punishment to the wicked so the wicked will repent. Repentance gives life and hope to all who turn to Him. Failure to repent will result in judgment.
Finally, God says through the prophet Ezekiel that those who practice justice and faithfully obeys His laws and repent of their sins, God promise to forgive them and provide restoration.
Praise God for His mercy and loving-kindness towards us who repent and turn to Him.