ezekiel 3311 Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, people of Israel?’ (Ezekiel 33:11 NIV)

For as long as I can remember I have heard people compare and contrast what they describe as “the God of the Old Testament” vs. “the God of the New Testament.” In their words, the God of the Old Testament is vindictive, wrathful, and just looking for some city to reduce to ashes or some sinner to thump on the head. The God of the New Testament, in their words, is a God of grace, mercy, and love. He’s more of a grandfatherly type figure, a much more appealing and attractive “God” that they can relate to. These conversations immediately raise a red flag for me. They let me know that my friends have really never read the Bible or they would have run into verses like our memory verse for the week. God told Ezekiel to say to His people,

11 Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, people of Israel?’ (Ezekiel 33:11 NIV)

God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. What He does take great pleasure in is when we turn from our rebellion and sin and turn to Him in repentance and obedience, willing to live as He desires for us to live. There are so many more examples in the Hebrew Bible, or what we call the Old Testament, of God’s grace and mercy.

Whenever we read about God’s judgment or discipline you can be sure that underneath lays a dirty secret of the sins of God’s people, sins that are destroying them. In the verse immediately before our memory verse we find a great example of why God desires to turn us away from rebellion and sin. God was reading the minds of His people and told Ezekiel to repeat to them what they were saying to themselves. Listen to this:

10 “Son of man, say to the Israelites, ‘This is what you are saying: “Our offenses and sins weigh us down, and we are wasting away because of them. How then can we live?”‘ (Ezekiel 33:10 NIV)

Their sins were weighing them down, their lifestyles were causing them to waste away, and yet they would not let go of what they wanted. We are no different. Sometimes that which we want more than anything will eventually destroy us if left unchecked. God loves us so much that He will go to great lengths to open our eyes to the waywardness of our self-destruction. We should praise God for His discipline and judgment knowing that it comes in love and serves His purpose of turning us from death to life.

52 Weeks 52 Verses: Week 44
Ezekiel 33:11
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