Read Ezekiel 18:24-32
A year of loss has me musing on the brevity of life. Age and health guarantee nothing. The unhealthiest of us live forever it seems; the youngest of us die before life begins. Death is sometimes senseless. It is mysterious.
Spiritual death, which is the consequence of sin, is no less mysterious and the Prophets have much to say on the topic. The exchange between God and Israel in Ezekiel 18:25 addresses spiritual death and is an uncomfortable read.
Israel: The way of the Lord is not right.
God: My way not right? Is it not your ways that are not right?
Essentially, Israel deems God’s judgement unfair. They were dying for their own sins and the sins of their fathers. It must have seemed immensely unfair to suffer for someone else’s sins. After all, they were God’s chosen people. Didn’t that exempt them?
Nonetheless, God pleads with Israel to turn from wickedness and walk in his way. He reveals his heart.
“For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,” declares the Lord God. “Therefore, repent and live” (Ezekiel 18:32).
The revelation of his heart in this passage surely melted the hardened hearts of Israel. It melted me. He is righteous and just. His ways are right. How dare we question him or call him unfair? And, by the way, he does not rejoice in death, even a “just” death. Death, both physical and spiritual, was never his intention for us and I believe each death breaks his heart.
Friend, tomorrow is not promised. Neither is the next hour. You may think your age, your health, and your decency exempt you from it, but death is no respecter of any condition. God, who values your very life, asks that you repent and live. Your death is not his heart’s desire. Life everlasting is his desire for you.
“Tomorrow will come if she can” (Jakob Dylan).