The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for 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.Ezekiel 18:20
I have good news and bad news for your church and for mine. The good news: no matter how many wrong choices your church may have made in the past, God is still willing to work through you today, if you will humble yourselves and seek after Him. The bad news: you get little credit for the amazing things in your church’s past…it is your current testimony that matters. This generation of your church will stand alone in its effectiveness.
Ezekiel was dealing with the first group of Hebrews exiled to Babylon. They were the young, best and brightest of the Hebrew society. They were the intelligent, creative, young leaders. Before the exile, they had their whole productive lives in front of them. But now, it was all for naught. For all practical purposes, their productive lives were over. They would now spend the rest of those lives in exile. No surprise, then, they felt “robbed”…and they blamed their parents. They blamed the stiff-necked, rebellious nature of the generations before them for their current sad state.
The irony is that, for generations now, those very Hebrew people had been living off of the “favored” status of their own forefathers before the Lord. They had all the stories of a mighty God who had faught their forefather’s battles and who had miraculously saved them time and time again. They were living off the very spotty righteousness of their forefathers. “God promised our father, Abraham…we are his favored people.”
Tuesday Re-mix – This is a popular post from last year, updated and resubmitted for your consideration and comments.
I was 40 years old the first time I put on a pair of reading glasses. I had stubbornly defied all the predictions that I would never make it out of law school without needing glasses (presumably due to all the reading law school requires…this is where some of my law school friends who read this blog will surely make some wise crack about how little reading Blake actually did in law school). It was one evening during my 41st year when I was at my parents’ house and they noticed I was squinting as I read the paper. Dad handed me a pair of reading glasses and my life changed right then and there. I could not believe how much they helped! I had a whole new outlook on life…literally.
That is what glasses are supposed to do, cause us to see differently. Thus we have little sayings such as “She sees the world through rose-colored glasses”. The glasses we wear have everything to do with our outlook.
I have been a Bible teacher for almost 30 years now. Clearly, there are some books and passages in the Bible which are a sheer joy to teach and there are others which…well, let’s just say they challenge my ability to “keep it fresh”. One of the passages I LOVE to teach is in Matthew: the sermon on the mount. I know many scholars and commentators believe this “sermon” is actually just Matthew’s compilation and summary of many lessons Jesus taught over a period of time. I understand that theory and I am not nearly enough of a Bible scholar to debate it. But personally, I don’t like it. I very much …