Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Truth and Life (Ezekiel 18:1, 21-23, 30-32)

The word of the LORD came to me:
 …if the wicked turn away from all from all their sins that they have committed and keep all my statutes and do what is lawful and right, they shall surely live; they shall not die. None of the transgressions that they have committed shall be remembered against them; for the righteousness that they have done they shall live.
…I will judge you, O house of Israel, all of you according to your ways, says the Lord GOD. Repent and turn from all your transgressions; otherwise, iniquity will be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed against me, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, says the Lord GOD. Turn, then, and live (New Revised Standard Version).

In 607 BC, the Babylonian army, under the command of Nebuchadnezzar, dragged the leaders of Jerusalem and their families into exile in Babylon. From amongst the exiles, Yahweh called Ezekiel to be a prophet. He called Ezekiel to serve him, as an especially clear witness, by sharing his light, love, and life with both the exiles in Babylon and the people remaining in Jerusalem.

Our Lord is the one and only true and creative god of truth, freedom, love, and vitality. In the passage above, Ezekiel draws this tight connection between truth and life. Through his prophet, Yahweh says that if the wicked turn and keep his statutes, then they shall live. The words of Yahweh’s statutes are truth. If we live by the truth revealed to us by Yahweh, then he will lead us into fullness of life.

Since Yahweh is love, he refuses to coerce us into keeping his word. Like the people of Jerusalem, we can easily ignore him. We can easily commit ourselves to serving the conventional gods of Olympianity. We can easily adopt their religion of power. Today, Olympianity is the most popular religion in the world.

But power is not the narrow path to life. It is the broad road to death. Through his prophet Ezekiel, Yahweh expresses his deep frustration with the people of Jerusalem. Why will you die? He also affirms his abiding commitment to life: I have no pleasure in the death of anyone…Turn, then, and live.

Sadly, the people of Jerusalem did not turn and live. They stayed true to the Olympian gods. Those that didn't fall to sword, famine, and pestilence went into exile.

Jesus continues to share these words of truth with us today. He continues to speak to us through the very words he once shared through Ezekiel. With gratitude, let us as Christians and churches affirm his gracious invitation to hear his word of truth, do what is right by love, and live. Then let us share this same light, love, and life with those we meet each day—for everyone's good and God’s glory.

Copyright © 2012 by Steven Farsaci.
All rights reserved. Fair use encouraged.