The Book of Ezekiel: Ezekiel 6

Continuing on the same theme as the last chapter, God is declaring punishment to Israel in the week’s chapter. It’s hard to imagine why God is spending so much time on the idea of punishment for sin, but how often do we consider what sin is? Many people may feel that because of Jesus, there is no need to dwell on sin any longer. Maybe, sin is far more damaging than we really think it is.

Ezekiel, by God’s command turns to speak to the mountains. This is not the last time Ezekiel will prophecy to things that cannot hear him. Here, Ezekiel speaks of the destruction that will come upon the worship locations on the mountains, hills, canyons and ravines around Israel. “I shall put the Yisra’elites’ corpeses before their lumps and scatter your bones round your altars in all you settlements. The towns will be laid waste and the shrines desolate, in order that your altars may be laid waste and may make restitution, your lumps break and cease, your incense stands be cut down and what you’ve made be wiped out…And you will acknowledge that I am Yahweh” (Ezekiel 6:5-7, Goldingay). However, in spite all of this destruction some will survive. They will have no choice but to consider the things they have done and how they have acted wrong according to God. They will be in places outside of Israel and witness this destruction. This destruction will be total; “I shall struch out my hand against them and make the country desolation and devestation, for the wilderness to Diblah, in all their settlements. And they will acknowledge that I am Yahweh” (Ezekiel 6:14, Goldingay).

“Original sin is in us, like the beard. We are shaved today and look clean, and have a smooth chin; tomorrow our beard has grown again, nor does it cease growing while we remain on earth. In like manner original sin cannot b extirpated from us; it springs up in us as long as we live. Nevertheless we ae bound to resist it to our utmost strength, and to cut it down unceasingly.”
— Martin Luther

Sin has consequences. It may be common for us to only consider the consequences of sin as it applies to our own lives, but it is usually farther reaching than that. In this passage of Scripture, God promises to utterly decimate the land of Israel because they people refused to stay commited to him, breaking the first Commandment. If you look to the very first sin, we see that the consequences changed the entirety of Creation and separated people for God. I feel like we have a hard time looking at sin this way. Could it be because we do not want to feel resposible for someone else’s pain? Adultery tears families apart. Murder steals people from others. Thieving takes away important resources from others. These are just a few, but show the archetype of sin. It is not simply a choice you make with consequences only you have to deal with. It is far reaching, and invades the lives of people you may have not intended. The mistakes I have made today could very well effect my grandchildren (my children are 7, 5, and 1 so this is clearly way down the line).

Going Forward

How do you think about sin? I do not mean only the “big ones” but maybe also the ones you do not consider (ie speeding?). Sin is certainly something that keeps us from where we ought to be, but our choice could impede somone else’s success. Are you willing to do that? Your choice could effect people that have not even been born yet, for the rest of their lives. Sin is so pervasive to the created order, that God had to take on flesh and die for there to be some path to reconciliation. We are human and prone to sin. I do not think we will ever overcome this truth before we die. However, I do believe that we get better over time. I believe I am better and managing my sinful behavior today than I was yesterday, and I believe I will still be better tomorrow. Better, not perfect. I will still sin. When that happens, I can turn and ask forgiveness from the people I’ve hurt and the God who died for it. Holy Spirit working in me, makes me better.

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