Daily Reflections September 15, 2017
The reaction of mankind to sin has not changed since the sin of Adam in the Garden of Eden. When confronted by God, Adam exclaimed,
“The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate” (Genesis 3:12).
Adam was clearly guilty of disobedience yet he blamed his wife and indirectly blamed God. One only needs to have children to see that shifting blame is natural to the human condition – the sibling provoked, the parents are “party poopers”, or the cat was mischievous.
Ezekiel saw that the people of Judah had fallen into the same trap. They had a proverb that they believed to be true concerning Israel: children’s teeth were bad because of the sour grapes of their fathers. Holding to this proverb, the people of Judah are claiming that it was the generations that came before them that sinned and brought the wrath of God. They have convinced themselves that they are paying for the sins of their fathers and it is unjust of God to punish them for their father’s sin.
There is no doubt that sin runs deep and can be devastating to many generations. One look at history or at many of our family trees can attest to this fact. But God makes it clear through Ezekiel in this chapter that there is a distinction in Scripture between punishment and consequence. He plainly explicates that, universally, there is personal responsibility for the way that each stewards their life. If a person is righteous then he shall live, not bearing the judgment of God. If a person is unrighteous then he shall die, facing the full wrath of God. There may be effects of sin that reverberate into the next generation but God will hold each person accountable for their own. Ezekiel says,
“The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.” (Ezekiel 18:20b).
This should be a great encouragement for all of those who have suffered from abuse, abandonment, addictions, divorce, and all those things that some would say are unavoidable punishments because of our parents. This is reassurance that the sins of the past may be resulting in the current calamity but the judgment of God only considers your own sin. You can escape the wrath of God. You can have life. God passionately pleads with you as he did with Israel:
“Repent and turn from all your transgressions, lest iniquity be your ruin. 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? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn, and live.” (Ezekiel 18:30b-32)
Yours in Christ,
Associate Pastor Evan Webster
Psalm 62 - 63
There is no question that the people of God should be set apart from the rest of the world. Psalm 62 and 63 put on clear display two characteristics that should mark those who have Jesus as their Lord. At the core of these psalms is a deep trust and adoration in God. As we read these prayers of David we should be inspired by his faith and seek to pour out this same dependence of God in our own lives.
Let us look first at Psalm 62 and the trust that David places in his Maker. The psalm begins with the declaration that it is for God alone that David’s soul waits. He will not look east or west for others who might aid him. Though patience might be required, David knows that God alone has proven to be a rock, a salvation, and a fortress unshakable. After a brief contemplation on the wickedness of man in verses 3 and 4, David again reiterates almost word for word his initial declaration of trust in God alone.
In verse 8 the focus is shifted from David’s own reflection of trusting in the Lord to a call for the people to do the same. David has experienced God’s goodness in his own life and we he wants others to experience this same unshakable salvation. In God alone true hope and power is found. Man, in comparison, is a mere breath and delusion. David, therefore, calls the people to turn to God and find refuge in Him.
The same themes of trust and adoration continue in Psalm 63. It is impossible to read this psalm and not be struck by the intimate nature of David’s relationship with God. Read again the following statements that David makes towards the Lord.
“My soul thirsts for you, my flesh faints for you.” (63:1)
“Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.” (63:3)
“I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.” (63:6-8)
It is abundantly clear that David was not just a man who knew about God, but was rather a man in close relationship with his Maker. The Lord had truly captivated his heart and became sweeter to David than life itself. Is the same true for you? Are you trusting in Christ as your unshakable fortress? Are your prayers filled with cries of adoration to our God? If not, heed the words of David and trust in the Lord at all times, for everything else is but a breath.
Director of Youth Ministries Ryan Shevalier