#DailyDevotion The God of Israel takes no pleasure in the death of men.
Epiphany Old Testament lessons
Read Ezek 18:1–4, 19–32
Eze 18:4 Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die. ..21 “But if a wicked person turns away from all his sins that he has committed and keeps all my statutes and does what is just and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. (22) None of the transgressions that he has committed shall be remembered against him; for the righteousness that he has done he shall live. (23) Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord GOD, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live? (24) But when a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and does injustice and does the same abominations that the wicked person does, shall he live? None of the righteous deeds that he has done shall be remembered; for the treachery of which he is guilty and the sin he has committed, for them he shall die. 25 “Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ Hear now, O house of Israel: Is my way not just? Is it not your ways that are not just? 30″Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, declares the Lord GOD. Repent and turn from all your transgressions, lest iniquity be your ruin. (31) Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel? (32) For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord GOD; so turn, and live.”
From what is being reported in this chapter of Ezekiel, Israel must have misunderstood what the Lord said when Moses wrote, “Exo 20:5-6 … for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, (6) but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.” God does not change. Moses should be understood then in light of this passage from Ezekiel.
Verse 32 is extremely important in our understanding of the Lord. The Lord takes no pleasure in the death of anyone. It injures him so much that he gave a prescription for death, his death. Sin is extremely deadly. The soul that sins is the soul that will die. Death is the penalty for sin. Not just physical death, but spiritual death. One follows the other. Adam sinned and he died that day spiritually. Later the body followed. There is no particular amount or particular sin that kills the spirit. Any old sin will do it to you.
Yet the Lord does not want us to die. So he gives us this warning and this promise. If you have been sinning and you repent, that is you turn to the Lord and seek his forgiveness for the sake of Christ, you will receive eternal life and you will not die. However, if you had been trusting the Lord and you turn away from the Lord, you will die, not just a physical death but more importantly a spiritual one. There’s only one thing left to do then, repent like the habitual sinner. The Lord’s promise of forgiveness is for all people everywhere. Jesus does not want to punish anyone or sent anyone into eternal perdition. He wants you to live. He promises us that he who believes in him will never die. We have eternal life in Jesus. Like spiritual death, physical death follows, eternal life is followed by physical life at the resurrection. So daily repent of your sins and trust in Christ.
Lord God, you desire not our deaths but that we turn to you and live. Give us your Holy Spirit that we may do this and live with you and your Son Jesus forever. Amen.