No Bank Account For Good Deeds

No Bank Account For Good Deeds

Ezekiel 33:17-20

“Yet your people say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just,’ when it is their own way that is not just. When the righteous turns from his righteousness and does injustice, he shall die for it. And when the wicked turns from his wickedness and does what is just and right, he shall live by this. Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ O house of Israel, I will judge each of you according to his ways.”

These verses speak to me on a couple of levels.

First, the idea of justice.

Ezekiel talks about the Israelites complaining that God’s justice, or the balance of the universe, doesn’t fit their idea of justice.  I’ve written before about this and the fact that my idea of justice and someone else’s idea of justice are probably two different things.  And so the Israelites say in verse 17, what most of us say today when something happens to us, or others, that we don’t understand.  We say, “There is no justice” and then question God and even God’s existence.  We do this on the basis of things not going the way we thought they should go.  We look to blame something outside of us for what happened.

God answers these petty accusations very effectively:

…when it is their own way that is not just.

Ezekiel and God are talking about personal responsibility, and each of us owning up to and realizing that we are responsible for our actions.  We must face up to the fact that we are responsible for the consequences of our actions.  The perceived injustice of the world, is the injustice we have created and served upon ourselves.

God does not inflict grief upon man.  Man inflicts grief upon man.

In verses 18 and 19, Ezekiel speaks of God’s balance. When the righteous do evil they suffer their grief.  There are no mulligans, or a reserved bank account of good deeds to excuse the evil act and eliminate the consequences.  And vice versa.

Second, each act stands on its own.

This is the third time I have written about this.  This truth is conveyed a number of times in the writings of Ezekiel.

Each act, each decision has its own consequence based on the act.  Every act and decision stands on its own.  If a plane makes 1000 trips without incident, that will not eliminate a catastrophe if the pilot makes a bad decision.  The 1000 safe and non-eventful flights do not somehow make the laws of physics and aerodynamics over look this lapse in judgement.  The consequences of a bad decision will be experienced.

Every action stands on its own.  That is what God and Ezekiel are telling us in verse 20.

I will judge each of you according to his ways.

This is personal responsibility. They are telling us that each of us stands alone, every one of our actions stands alone.  If you do twenty wonderful and righteous things during the course of the day and then do one evil act, the twenty do not cancel out the one.  The consequences of the evil act will still be suffered.

God and Ezekiel are letting us know we are responsible for our actions.  Each and every action is judged by itself.

© Otis P Smith and About the Groove, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Otis P Smith and About the Groove with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Stands On Its Own – Part II

Stands On Its Own – Part II

Ezekiel 33:10-12

“And you, son of man, say to the house of Israel, Thus have you said: ‘Surely our transgressions and our sins are upon us, and we rot away because of them. How then can we live?’ 11 Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?

“And you, son of man, say to your people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him when he transgresses, and as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall by it when he turns from his wickedness, and the righteous shall not be able to live by his righteousness when he sins.

These verses help solidify my belief that the Bible is a manual for the individual. In my previous post, Stand On Its Own, I wrote about these verses, but today I wanted to write some more as I feel strongly about the individual.   Verses like these speak of the individual and how the individual is responsible for their actions.  Although each day circumstances beyond our control are thrown at us, how we respond to those circumstances is what we can control.  Our response is what makes us who we are. Continue reading

Simple Manual

Simple Manual

Ezekiel 20:11-12

I gave them my statutes and made known to them my rules, by which, if a person does them, he shall live.  Moreover, I gave them my Sabbaths, as a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord who sanctifies them.

Ezekiel Chapter 20 begins with the elders of Israel coming to the prophet Ezekiel to inquire of the Lord.  It’s doesn’t tells us their question but I’m reasonably sure it’s that age old question we all ask when things go bad, “God, why did you let this happen?”

If you read the entire chapter you will learn that God, through Ezekiel, lets the elders of Israel know exactly why they have been carried off to Babylon.  God has Ezekiel give a full accounting of the history and of the relationship between God and the Israelites, and their constant rebellion against God.

Ezekiel advises the elders that they are suffering the consequences of their actions. Continue reading

Stands On Its Own

Stands On Its Own

Ezekiel 33:10-12

“And you, son of man, say to the house of Israel, Thus have you said: ‘Surely our transgressions and our sins are upon us, and we rot away because of them. How then can we live?’ Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?

“And you, son of man, say to your people, The righteousness of the righteous shall not deliver him when he transgresses, and as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall by it when he turns from his wickedness, and the righteous shall not be able to live by his righteousness when he sins.

Every time I read through the Bible, the more I realize it comes down to personal responsibility.  Each of us is responsible for our lives.  Circumstances vary, forces outside of our control can act upon us, but how we react or how proactive we are is what makes us who we are. Continue reading

The Sins Of The Father

The Sins Of The Father

Ezekiel 18:20

The soul who sins shall die.  The son shall not suffer the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son.  The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.

That’s some pretty powerful stuff right there.

Ezekiel the Old Testament prophet is laying down some twenty first century wisdom.  Actually it’s eternal wisdom that will apply throughout time.

What Ezekiel is saying is you are in charge and you are responsible for all you do and all that happens to you.  Not the government, not the church, not your family, not your friends, not your enemies, but you and only you are responsible.

Your righteousness and your wickedness are yours to own.  You own it, no one else does, no matter what you think of say. Continue reading

Blood On The Watchman

Blood On The Watchman

Ezekiel 33:1-6

The word of the Lord came to me:  “Son of man, speak to your people and say to them, If I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from among them, and make him their watchman, and if he sees the sword coming upon the land and blows the trumpet and warns the people, then if anyone who hears the sound of the trumpet does not take warning, and the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet and did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But if he had taken warning, he would have saved his life. But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, so that the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any one of them, that person is taken away in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.

God is telling Ezekiel he is the watchman for Israel and if he follows through by warning them of their impending doom then he will have no blood on his hands.  But if he fails to warn them he is just as guilty as those that God is going to destroy.

To me this also speaks about our personal responsibilities. Continue reading

The Sins Of The Father

The Sins Of The Father

Ezekiel 18:20

The soul who sins shall die.  The son shall not suffer the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son.  The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.

That’s some pretty powerful stuff right there.

Ezekiel the Old Testament prophet is laying down some twenty first century wisdom.  Actually it’s eternal wisdom that will apply throughout time.

What Ezekiel is saying is you are in charge and you are responsible for all you do and all that happens to you.  Not the government, not the church, not your family, not your friends, not your enemies, but you and only you are responsible.

Your righteousness and your wickedness are yours to own.  You own it, no one else does, no matter what you think of say. Continue reading