Next to learning “No!” the toughest lesson of childhood is learning to share: to let others have, use, and control what we consider to be ours.
No wonder the Israelites were complaining. The Lord their GOD wasn’t abiding by the lessons they’d learned in childhood: the Lord wasn’t “sharing.” The Israelites wanted to “own” their own lives—to be able to say “Mine!” and possess themselves and their future. They complained; their GOD was unfair: he wouldn’t share. He claimed their lives entirely.
The Lord GOD doesn’t give in to their accusation; no, he states clearly, “…all souls are mine…” (vs. 4) The Lord confronts his people with the impossibility of them taking charge of their own future before him: “Repent, turn, and live! Cast away transgressions, get a new heart, a new spirit, and not die!” (vs. 31). With these admonitions the Lord delivers the truth they already know but which terrifies them: their death rate remains at a constant one hundred percent.
From our use of Psalm 51 we know that the Lord our God is in charge of hearts, for we pray with David: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me!” (vs. 10). This clean heart is the heart of Jesus Christ; this right spirit is our God’s Holy Spirit. In our hearing God’s Good News, the Holy Spirit works faith—the presence of Jesus Christ in us, complete with his clean heart full of faith. Only by such faith do we have the maturity to trust our God’s word “Mine!” in both our death and our life.
Table Talk: Relate an episode of sharing and a time of God’s selfishness.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, hold my life and claim it forever. Amen
Ezekiel 18:1- 4, 25-32
1 The word of the Lord came to me: 2 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? 3 As I live, declares the Lord God, this proverb shall no more be used by you in Israel. 4 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…
…25 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? 26 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. 27 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. 28 Because he considered and turned away from all the transgressions that he had committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 29 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?
30 Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, everyone according to his ways, declares the Lord God. Repent and turn from all your transgressions, lest iniquity be your ruin. 31 Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel? 32 For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn, and live.