It took a year to read the Bible, then almost 9 months to read the Apocrypha. Now, I'm going to try to offer reflections on the Narrative Lectionary. But, I won't be posting daily--at least, for a while.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

From Irresponsibility to Despair to Action, a Reflection on Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32

Some things feel good while you're doing them but the aftereffects do not. The old saying was that one generation enjoyed themselves, and the later generations had to clean up their mess. Ezekiel is talking to exiles who have certainly been reflecting on how their forerunners had lived in ways that God had not intended for them. These exiles are paying the price.

William Goldingay, Old Testament Theology, Volume Two, sums it up in this way: "It is then easy for people to ricochet from irresponsibility when they are doing all right to despair when calamity falls on them."

You can probably come up with some contemporary illustrations of this habit of ours.

Ezekiel tells them that the Lord God is canceling out this warning that they have been using as an excuse. "Don't blame your parents for their sins. Stop your own sinning."

Jeremiah is writing to exiles who understand their present distress is because of the unfaithfulness of their ancestors. Ezekiel is demanding that they focus on their own acts. "You can't use the sins of the past to justify your own sinning."

"Get yourself a new heart." The Lord is going to give them this heart, but they have some responsibility as well. Positive action on their part is required. The Lord is turning to these sinners; the sinners need to turn to the Lord.

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