To What Way Does Your Heart Turn?

 We continue our study in Ezekiel, the last time we met was about The Watchman's Job. You can read more in my Ezekiel Studies here and here.

Now that Ezekiel knows his job full well, God talks to him saying "Say to the the house of Israel". 

So Ezekiel, the watchman, has a warning a "beware" to deliver to the people he is on the job for.  
‘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?

It's a fair question to ask don't you think?   For God to show them their sin and then ask ... is this the hill you want to die on?   What sin is so important that you will die to continue committing it?

God goes on to say:  

12 “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.

Do you see it?   We can't count on the good deeds of others, on the righteousness of the righteous to pull us through our evil deeds.   We can't be the bad son of a good family and get away with things.  We can't.   Our deeds will stand on their own merits.
  13 Though I say to the righteous that he shall surely live, yet if he trusts in his righteousness and does injustice, none of his righteous deeds shall be remembered, but in his injustice that he has done he shall die. 

Again God is clear.   If a righteous man stays righteous, he will live.  BUT he can't stand on his past deeds, he must remain righteous.  If he does evil, he will have to live by that evil, that is how he will be remembered.  All that previous good is wiped away.   Makes me think of something I read or watched one day... A person was mourning the fact that her father was such a good man....until the end of his life when he committed a horrid crime...and that was all people remembered of him...was the horrible crime he committed.  She asked "doesn't the rest of his life matter?"   We see clearly from God's word that is DOESN'T matter.

14 Again, though I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ yet if he turns from his sin and does what is just and right, 15 if the wicked restores the pledge, gives back what he has taken by robbery, and walks in the statutes of life, not doing injustice, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 16 None of the sins that he has committed shall be remembered against him. He has done what is just and right; he shall surely live.

But if you flip it around, a bad man turns his life around... it is that turning that is remembered.  And why... because that man has done what is just and right.   That's all there is too it.   The person who turns from their evil ways and does good...that is what is most remembered.

17 “Yet your people say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just,’ when it is their own way that is not just. 18 When the righteous turns from his righteousness and does injustice, he shall die for it. 19 And when the wicked turns from his wickedness and does what is just and right, he shall live by this. 20 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.”

Israel is like so many people though crying...but that's not fair... just as the young lady cried that it wasn't fair that her father was remembered for his bad deeds and not his good.   It's the turning that counts..... turning from good to do evil... or the turning from evil to do good.   The one deserves more merit than the other, and it is how our deeds are judged.  

To what way does your heart turn?

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