INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY

There are several themes in today’s One Year Chronological Bible Reading from Ezekiel 17-19. The primary theme of chapter 18 is personal responsibility for our own actions and the decisions we make.

We may feel that those who preceded us are responsible for our current situation and behavior, and so we want to “pass the buck,” to blame someone else for what we are doing or did, an attitude and practice that goes clear back to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. But what Ezekiel states in this chapter for the Jewish exiles clearly teaches that we are each individually responsible for our sins. This chapter provides “a valuable correction to the potential errors of fatalism, rigid determinism, and blame-avoidant judgmentalism,” (Stuart, quoted in Constable’s Notes, https://netbible.org/bible/Ezekiel+18 ).

Ezekiel gives three examples: (1)a godly man, who (2)has a violent son, who then (3)has a godly son, so three generations. The third man (generation) “will not die for his father's iniquity, he will surely live,” (v. 17). The second man (generation) “will surely be put to death; his blood will be on his own head,” (v. 13). And the first man, “if he walks in My statutes and My ordinances so as to deal faithfully-he is righteous and will surely live,” declares the Lord God, (v. 9).

Do I have any pleasure in the death of the wicked," declares the Lord God, "rather than that he should turn from his ways and live?... But the house of Israel says, 'The way of the Lord is not right.' Are My ways not right, O house of Israel? Is it not your ways that are not right? Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, each according to his conduct," declares the Lord God. "Repent and turn away from all your transgressions… For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies," declares the Lord God…" (Ezekiel 18:23, 29-30, 32).

by Bob Busenitz, Elder

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