ODJ: Turn Back and Live

January 14, 2018 

READ: Ezekiel 18:1-32 

I don’t want you to die, says the Sovereign Lord. Turn back and live! (v.32).

When a boyfriend and I ended our dating relationship, I lamented, “I’ll never meet another man who enjoys grilling food like he did.” As shallow (and embarrassing) as that sounds, I thought I’d forfeited my opportunity to be with a gourmet chef. A few weeks later though, while in a shop that sold a variety of grills, it dawned on me that my former boyfriend wasn’t the only gifted griller out there!

From the trivial to the most important matters of life and faith, we often allow circumstances, experiences and culture to dictate what we deem to be bona fide rather than what Scripture reveals.

This tendency is poignantly evidenced in Ezekiel 18, where we learn of a group of Israelites whose muddled view of God and misguided understanding of His character and judgement led them to proclaim, “The parents have eaten sour grapes, but their children’s mouths pucker at the taste” (v.2). In other words, they considered God to be a stern judge who not only punished their sinful parents but also punished them for their parents’ sins (v.19).

But through Ezekiel, God debunked their distorted beliefs about Him, saying, “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” (v.20).

But amazingly, God doesn’t want even the guilty to die as a result of sin. He wants us to “turn back and live!” and to receive salvation through faith in Jesus Christ (v.32; Ephesians 2:8-9). May we turn to Him and experience true life.

—Roxanne Robbins

365-day plan: Genesis 24:1-27

Read Proverbs 3:1-2 and consider why it’s important to truly know God and what He’s revealed in Scripture. 
What type of judge do you consider God to be? (See Ezekiel 18:32.) How can you explain this type of mercy and grace to a nonbeliever?