Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-29 - The Word of the LORD came to me: "What do you mean by repeating this proverb concerning the land of Israel, 'The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge'? As I live, declares the Lord GOD, this proverb shall no more be used by you in Israel. Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine: the soul who sins shall die. ... "Yet you say, 'The way of the Lord is not just.' Hear now, O house of Israel: Is My way not just? Is it not your ways that are not just? When a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and does injustice, he shall die for it; for the injustice that he has done he shall die. Again, when a wicked person turns away from the wickedness he has committed and does what is just and right, he shall save his life. Because he considered and turned away from all the transgressions that he had committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die. Yet the house of Israel says, 'The way of the Lord is not just.' O house of Israel, are My ways not just? Is it not your ways that are not just?"
God sounds utterly scandalized. How dare the people of Israel use a proverb that boils down to "the parents sin, and the children pay for it"? No way! God isn't having any of that in His kingdom! There will be justice—and there will be mercy. The one thing there will not be is injustice, because God hates that with all His heart.
Yet human beings have a problem, because all too often we can't tell the difference between injustice and mercy. We recognize justice—justice is getting exactly what you deserve. We have no trouble with that. But what about cases where people don't get what they deserve? Then we have to think carefully. Because you can go two ways—you can fall beneath justice, or you can soar above it.
In Jesus Christ, God soars above justice. He takes the weight of the world's sins and loads them upon Himself—on God in human flesh—and He carries them all the way to the cross. This is not injustice, even though Jesus is totally innocent. This is generosity. This is mercy—because Jesus has volunteered to do this out of sheer love and compassion on us. He willingly takes the pain, and we receive the benefit.
If we are the ones who benefit from His love, how can we deny that kindness to the people around us? They, too, are in need; they too are sinners. Jesus has died and risen from the dead for them, too. And if they trust in Him to forgive them, they too will have new life, a life and joy that lasts forever. This isn't injustice, no matter what they have done—or what we have done, for that matter. This is mercy.
Let's tell them about Jesus, so they can share His mercy with us.
WE PRAY: Holy Father, thank You for Your generous mercy to us all in Jesus, Your Son. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. If you want God's mercy for yourself, can you reconcile yourself to seeing Him have the same mercy on others?
2. Why or why not?
3. Why is this so hard at times?
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