Daily Dose, Jan. 10 — Ezekiel

  The word of the Lord came to me: What do you mean by repeating this proverb concerning the land of Israel, “The parents have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge”? As I live, says the Lord God, this proverb shall no more be used by you in Israel. Know that all lives are mine; the life of the parent as well as the life of the child is mine: it is only the person who sins that shall die. If a man is righteous and does what is lawful and right -- if he does not eat upon the mountains or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, does not defile his neighbor’s wife or approach a woman during her menstrual period, does not oppress anyone, but restores to the debtor his pledge, commits no robbery, gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with a garment, does not take advance or accrued interest, withholds his hand from iniquity, executes true justice between contending parties, follows my statutes, and is careful to observe my ordinances, acting faithfully -- such a one is righteous; he shall surely live, says the Lord God. If he has a son who is violent, a shedder of blood, who does any of these things (though his father does none of them), who eats upon the mountains, defiles his neighbor’s wife, oppresses the poor and needy, commits robbery, does not restore the pledge, lifts up his eyes to the idols, commits abomination, takes advance or accrued interest; shall he then live? He shall not. He has done all these abominable things; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon himself. But if this man has a son who sees all the sins that his father has done, considers, and does not do likewise, who does not eat upon the mountains or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, does not defile his neighbor’s wife, does not wrong anyone, exacts no pledge, commits no robbery, but gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with a garment, withholds his hand from iniquity, takes no advance or accrued interest, observes my ordinances, and follows my statutes; he shall not die for his father’s iniquity; he shall surely live. As for his father, because he practiced extortion, robbed his brother, and did what is not good among his people, he dies for his iniquity. Yet you say, “Why should not the son suffer for the iniquity of the father?” When the son has done what is lawful and right, and has been careful to observe all my statutes, he shall surely live. The person who sins shall die. A child shall not suffer for the iniquity of a parent, nor a parent suffer for the iniquity of a child; the righteousness of the righteous shall be his own, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be his own. (Ezekiel 18:1-20)     There is no question that we are in this boat together as a nation, as states and cities, as families and friends and as a church. We all get that fact and truth. But the deeper truth is that you and I have to each paddle our own canoe. You are responsible for you, and I’m responsible for me. Israel lost touch with the fact and truth of individual responsibility. They blamed their parents for their plight. Ezekiel nailed their feet to the floor on this issue. “The soul that sins shall die,” was his straight forward way of putting it to them and us. You can find God’s blessing and favor anytime you want by choosing to live a good life. You will not be judged for your parent’s sins, nor they for yours. So do the right thing and do it now. We do not inherit the goodness of our parents, and we do not have to be trapped by their irresponsible choices. God wants us all to find green pastures and still waters, but it’s up to each of us. If you think of yourself as a victim, you’ll never be the victor. -- Y’all come, Dr. Don