Ezekiel 18 describes three generations of men in a family, the first generation is righteous and follows God, the second generation is evil and does everything that God detests, and the third generation is Godly just like the grandpa. According to the thinking of the Jews of that time each person inherits God’s blessings from their parents, so the evil man would be blessed by God and live a happy and fruitful life because of the righteousness of his father, while the son of the evil man will have a miserable and cursed life because of the evil of his father. God is going to make it very clear to them that their thinking is fundamentally faulty, because obviously a person who goes around robbing the poor, sleeping with his friends’ wives, and worshiping false gods is going to have a miserable life. He won’t have friends, and will never be trusted, no matter how great his father was. How is that a blessed life?
The opposite is also true, if the evil man has a son and that man lives a Godly life and helps the poor, and gives money to the needy, and keeps all of God’s laws he will have a full and blessed life. People might remember how horrible his father is, but his own actions will speak for themselves, and God will also see his actions and bless him.
This is summed up perfectly in Ezekiel 18:30-32.
“30 “Therefore, you Israelites, I will judge each of you according to your own ways, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. 31 Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, people of Israel? 32 For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live!”
This verse is a great blessing, but also a warning. It is a blessing if you or your family has a past that is full of sin and brokenness and you want to break the cycle, repent and live! It doesn’t matter what your parents did, good or bad, God will judge you for your own actions. This makes it very important to make our faith our own, because even though my Mom had and Dad has faith that can move mountains, that does not make me a Christian by default, I still have to work hard at it and build my own faith up. Just like how knowledge will never transfer from your textbook to your brain when you use the textbook as a pillow, righteousness will not transfer from your parents to you when you sit next to them at church, you have to open the book and read for yourself.
Chris and Katie-Beth Mattison
Today’s Bible reading passage can be read or listened to at BibleGateway, here – Ezekiel 18-19
Tomorrow we will read Ezekiel 20-21 as we continue on the 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan