A Note from Pastor Rall: Turn and Live

This week’s Old Testament reading comes from the prophet Ezekiel.  He had been called by God during Judah’s exile in Babylon to proclaim God’s Word to the exiles in Babylon.  Many were lamenting what they felt was God’s injustice in bringing judgment upon them for the sins of their fathers.  So they quoted the proverb, “The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.”  The Lord speaks through His prophet to demand an end to this kind of thinking.  Instead the prophet outlines a doctrine of individual responsibility and accountability.

Ezekiel challenges the exiles to recognize that their current predicament and suffering stem from their own unrighteous ways.  Yahweh says, “Is it not your ways that are unjust?”  God’s people are challenged to stop blaming others for their plight and to recognize their own failures that account for God’s judgement upon them.

There are similarities in our own day to the context of Ezekiel’s message.  Many people today are quick to blame their problems on others.  That condition reaches all the way back to the Garden of Eden when Adam cast the blame on Eve, and she in turn blamed the serpent.  It is difficult for us to acknowledge our own responsibility, because it is so easy to think others are responsible.

Both the prophet and the apostle John remind us of the need to confess our sins.  John says, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8).  But God desires that we “turn and live” – that is the heart of Ezekiel’s message.  John reminds us, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).  The Lord does not want any to perish.  He takes no pleasure in the death of a sinner.  He wants everyone to turn from evil and find life in Himself.  Our hope lies only in the mercy and compassion of a Father who offers forgiveness and life through His Son.  So, turn and live.

Pastor Rall