Scripture reading for August 23rd: Ezekiel 16-19
There was a proverb in Israel that went something like this, “The fathers eat the sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.” (Ezekiel 18:2b) Through Ezekiel, God brought this popular myth into question. To God, each person belonged to Him and answered to Him personally. He judged each person on their own conduct and either rewarded or punished them accordingly.
We have a teaching in Pentecostal circles today that speaks of “generational” curses. It goes something like this: if your father or mother was involved in alcoholism, for example, you might have this “curse” passed on down to you. This curse must be broken off for you to be free. Now we know that there might be some truth in this; if there is a genetic disposition in your family for alcoholism, you may have that, too. But what God was teaching here is different. Each person is responsible before Him for their actions and choices. We are not victims of our family tree or some generational curse. We choose either to obey and follow God, or to disobey and rebel against God. We are free moral agents with the ability to choose.
God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but would rather that they repent and live. (Ezekiel 18:23) Repentance requires taking personal responsibility for our sins, not blaming someone else. Repentance requires turning from the sin and then doing what God commands. It is very simple and yet so profound. God is merciful and desires to show mercy rather than judge. When we fail to repent, He must judge us! (Ezekiel 18:26-28)
“Therefore, O house of Israel, I will judge you, each one according to his ways, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone.” (Ezekiel 18:30-32)
Sin is man’s major downfall. We have all sinned and need God’s mercy. (Romans 3:23) God has sent Jesus Christ to take away our sins in the sacrifice of His body on the Cross of Calvary. Why not take a moment and confess your faith in Jesus Christ and the cross? God loves to show mercy!