Monday, October 3, 2011

Ezekiel 33: The Way of the Lord Is Not Just

This chapter of Ezekiel has so many gems to mine, but today the focus will be on one idea.
    “Yet your people say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just,’ when it is their own way that is not just. (Ezekiel 33:17 ESV)
The first thought that crosses the twenty-first century mind is how contemporary the message sounds. "The way of the Lord is not just" is a 2,700 year old way of saying, "How can I believe in a God who allows so much evil and suffering?" Though, the modern message is no more eloquent nor insightful.


The source of the problem is personal injustice. Because we're wicked, we cannot properly judge the way of the Lord. Israel had a choice to follow God, but they rejected him. In his judgment he punishes Israel for their disobedience. Instead of repentance, their response is to accuse the Lord of injustice. But they cannot see what true justice is precisely because they've forsaken it. Perhaps our own culture could learn a few things from this prophet of old.


“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?’ (Ezekiel 33:10). God calls for repentance, and that message remains timeless. We find repentance in turning to Jesus, who bears the full wrath of God on the cross for those who believe in him. It is the justice of the Lord that saves us. So the wicked cry out against the justice of the Lord and miss that we can live because God is just.

Evil and Suffering

Nobody will be able to entirely answer the problem of evil and pain in this world. But this verse gives a hint. If man's way is not just, then it's plain to see that we are the source of evil and suffering. Our sin is the source of evil, but then we have the audacity to blame God for the pain that ensues.

But everything is reconciled in the cross of Christ, and one day he will return to judge the living and the dead. God has not made his final judgment, but he promises to make all wrongs right at the end. This delay in justice is a great act of mercy in itself, for if God were to bring final judgment at this moment, who could stand, who would survive?

God is calling for repentance. He says, "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? (Ezekiel 33:11 ESV)

Even today, God is calling for repentance. Look on the Lord Jesus Christ and live. For why will you die?

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