Reading: Ezekiel 18, 20, 23
Summary: Some regard Ezekiel 18 as the most important passage in the entire book. Certainly, every person is a part of larger groups; a family, a generation, etc., but each of us are individually responsible to God.
Chapter 20 is a sad but familiar scene, when leaders who have ignored God for so long, now wish to know His will. But the opportunity has passed. God has, for generations, gone above and beyond on behalf of His people; as undeserving as they were. His faithfulness is unquestionable. But now they have reached the limit.
An unflattering picture of the nations of Israel and Judah is found in their depiction in chapter 23 as two lewd sisters, Oholah and Oholibah.
It All Starts With Attitude
Life rarely lines up to our liking; our ducks all in a row, the planets in perfect alignment, our t’s all crossed and i’s all dotted, fair and equitable treatment in all our associations and encounters. Something is always amiss, out of kilter, or just messed up. We feel irritated, provoked, and mistreated. That is life.
Then why isn’t everyone beat down? Why aren’t all people a toxic dump of negative emotions? Why isn’t everyone mean-spirited, defeated and in despair?
Because not everyone chooses to be a victim. Not everyone looks at life and lives it in the negative. Not everyone just takes what comes their way, but uses the bad and the good as building blocks for something better.
Life is also encouraging and hopeful. Life has purpose and meaning far beyond the mere circumstances of the moment. Life is good. At least it can be if we’ll allow it and make it that way.
It all starts with attitude. Attitude is nothing more than a state or frame of mind. You can either take charge and take responsibility, or you can become a human punching bag and absorb the full force of every blow that life throws at you. You know, become a victim.
Ezekiel talks about attitude; specifically about responsibility and accountability. Whether our life ends in life or death—spiritually, not physically—very much depends on me. Am I a victim? Am I blaming others for my plight? You know, “the fathers eat the sour grapes, but the children’s teeth are set on edge” (Ezek. 18:2). No, the prophet says, we are each one accountable and responsible. “The soul who sins shall die” (Ezek. 18:4).
And the one who lives? That’s the one who “does what is just and right” and “walks in my statutes, and keeps my rules by acting faithfully—he is righteous; he shall surely live, declares the Lord God” (Ezek. 18:5, 9). This is the who takes positive action—and there’s nothing more positive than God’s will—and doesn’t beyond themselves to assign blame and fault.
Personally responsibility or blame? It’s about as simple as that.