From Ezekiel 31-33
Ezekiel said to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die’ (Eze 33.14) and gave them the opportunity to repent. The LORD does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked. Jesus likewise promises judgment. People under judgment need to bless the one who had compassion on them. Be it may the person who shared the Gospel with them or the Lord Jesus himself. Can someone trust in ‘righteousness’, do injustice and expect to live?
This post is part of my bible in a year series.
Passage and Comments
The LORD doesn’t always punish people for their sin straight away. Quite often he patiently waits and gives sinners opportunity to repent. Today’s passage is about people who trust in their righteousness and fall into sin, and people who live in wickedness who repent and turn to God.
10 “And you, son of man, say to the house of Israel, Thus have you said: ‘Surely our transgressions and our sins are upon us, and we rot away because of them. How then can we live?’ 11 Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel? (Eze 33.10-11)
The people of Israel are being punished for their sins. They fear death. The LORD responds and reveals something of his character. He is just and must punish wrongdoing. But he is also compassionate and loving. He hopes the wicked will repent so he doesn’t have to punish them.
How does wrongdoing and injustice affect you?
12 “And you, son of man, say to your people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him when he transgresses, and as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall by it when he turns from his wickedness, and the righteous shall not be able to live by his righteousness when he sins. (Eze 33.12)
Ezekiel’s statements assume people are judged according to the way they live. But he has a strong warning for the righteous. If they sin they will be punished. On the other hand he extends mercy to the wicked. If they repent, they will not fall.
13 Though I say to the righteous that he shall surely live, yet if he trusts in his righteousness and does injustice, none of his righteous deeds shall be remembered, but in his injustice that he has done he shall die. (Eze 33.13)
Resisting temptation is part and parcel of the life of the righteous. They may trust in their former behaviour, their habits, their works. But then, they can easily succumb to pride, temptation and sin. The righteous need to guard against this. Because if they don’t and they fall into sin, doing injustice. They will be punished and die.
14 Again, though I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ yet if he turns from his sin and does what is just and right, 15 if the wicked restores the pledge, gives back what he has taken by robbery, and walks in the statutes of life, not doing injustice, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 16 None of the sins that he has committed shall be remembered against him. He has done what is just and right; he shall surely live. (Eze 33.14-16)
On the other hand, what about the wicked? They receive a warning of what is about to come. If they ‘turn from their sin’ – repent, doing what is right, making up for his wrongdoing. Then he shall live. The LORD will relent on his punishment forgetting his previous sin because he is compassionate and has no pleasure in the death of the wicked.
What do you most admire in the LORD’s character?
17 “Yet your people say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just,’ when it is their own way that is not just. 18 When the righteous turns from his righteousness and does injustice, he shall die for it. 19 And when the wicked turns from his wickedness and does what is just and right, he shall live by this. 20 Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ O house of Israel, I will judge each of you according to his ways.” (Eze 33.10-20)
The LORD is both just and compassionate. Yet the people don’t recognize this, nor do they care I suspect. They are coming under the LORD’s judgment and he has given them the opportunity to repent. But they reject his kind offer and accuse him of injustice instead.
Story of Israel
The LORD will judge the righteous and the wicked according to their ways. He did so then. He punished the righteous who trusted in their works and fell into sin. Many died and some where taken into exile. He preserved the wicked, who repented of their sin some stayed in the land and they all praised God for his compassion.
Story of Jesus
When Jesus came he showed the same compassion for the wicked and gave them the same opportunity to repent.
37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! 38 See, your house is left to you desolate. 39 For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’ ”
24 Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. 2 But he answered them, “You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” (Mt 23.37-24.2)
Ezekiel said to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die’ (Eze 33.14) and gave them the opportunity to repent. The LORD does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked. Jesus likewise promises judgment. People under judgment need to bless the one who had compassion on them. Be it may the person who shared the Gospel with them or the Lord Jesus himself.
Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2014. All Rights