Ezekiel 6:6 (God said to his people via the prophet Ezekiel) Wherever you live, your towns shall be waste and your high places ruined, so that your altars will be waste and ruined, your idols broken and destroyed, your incense stands cut down, and your works wiped out. The slain shall fall in your midst; then you shall know that I am the Lord. But I will spare some. Some of you shall escape the sword among the nations and be scattered through the countries. Those of you who escape shall remember me among the nations where they are carried captive, how I was crushed by their wanton heart that turned away from me, and their wanton eyes that turned after their idols. Then they will be loathsome in their own sight for the evils that they have committed, for all their abominations. 10 And they shall know that I am the Lord; I did not threaten in vain to bring this disaster upon them.

This is a pretty tough passage bringing a word of judgment to God’s people. They had strayed from the Lord in blatant ways for a very long time and finally paid the price. Two key things stick out for me this morning:

  1. Whereas modern Christians often perceive God as some sort of benevolent Santa Claus giving treats to his children whether they’ve been naughty or nice, this passage (and many others throughout scripture) offers a very different picture. Our God is indeed “merciful and abounding in steadfast love”, but this does not mean we are not accountable for our actions. Without consequences, people do not learn from mistakes. We remain as infants rather that growing to maturity.

2. God’s mercy is reflected in the fact that, despite our failings and shortcomings, and our experience of pain as a result, we never lose our identity as children of God in Christ Jesus. Jesus’ death and resurrection has secured our identity forever as a gift of grace.

This morning I wonder:

  • Where is my sin on the verge of catching up with me?
  • Am I willing to repent of my sin – now – and be reconciled to God, or will I continue in my sin and endure more pain as a result?

Gracious God, you are merciful, but you are also just. And though it is never your desire that we would suffer, suffering is often a consequence of our sin. Give us grace to repent of our wicked ways and return to your path of righteousness and truth. For we ask this in Jesus’ holy name. Amen.

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