Turn and Live

I’ve been reading through the book of Ezekiel lately and I have been challenged to reflect on how my own journey with Jesus can be evaluated by examining it through a lens of the messages sent through the Prophet Ezekiel.  This morning I came across Ezekiel 18 and the following verses grabbed my attention:

“Therefore, I will judge each of you, O people of Israel, according to your actions,” says the Sovereign Lord. “Repent and turn from your sins. Don’t let them destroy you! Put all your rebellion behind you, and find yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O people of Israel? I don’t want you to die,” says the Lord. “Turn back and live.”

This is a beautiful and heartbreaking plea from God to the people he dearly loves. It is in God’s nature to be fair and just. He is perfect and he demands perfection from us. We cannot obtain perfection on our own, which is why we need the propitiation through Jesus. When we ask him to be Lord over our life, he inundates our life with tender mercy and grace. This passage from Ezekiel displays how much God wants us to live. We can only have life through Jesus. In John 10, Jesus is speaking to the Pharisees who do not believe that Jesus is the Son of God and they are denying his sovereignty. Jesus is challenging their spiritual blindness and lecturing them for refusing to listen to him, so in John 10:10 Jesus says,

“The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

Jesus said this to the Pharisees because they were not following Jesus’ voice; rather they were challenging his authority. Jesus’ message to the Pharisees is analogous to what God was communicating to his people through Ezekiel. God wants to give us life as we witness in Ezekiel 18:32,

“I don’t want you to die, says the Sovereign Lord. “Turn back and live.”

However, if we want to live, we cannot continue on our path without God and expect to live. You must recognize that what we’re doing is not living. It is reveling in our affair with sin, loving it, and displaying no remorse for our actions. God demands in Ezekiel 18:30,

“…Repent and turn form your sins. Don’t let them destroy you.”

Listen to Jesus’ voice, listen to him calling out to you,

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

-Matthew 11:28-30

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