Wednesday, October 2, 2013

It's Just How I Was Raised

“The word of the Lord came to me again, saying, “What do you mean when you use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying: ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge’? “As I live,” says the Lord God, “you shall no longer use this proverb in Israel.  “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.” – Ezekiel 18:1-4

We often want to blame our parents for the way in which we were raised.  We say things like “I wasn’t raised in church”, or “I wasn’t taught to pray” or “it’s just how I was raised”.  We somehow feel excused by submitting to the fact that our parents didn’t know or follow God.  We’re not so different than the children of Israel in the days of Ezekiel the prophet.  God speaks to Ezekiel in Ezekiel 18 of a saying of the Israelites.  They would say “The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge”.  The proverb was a means by which the children of Israel would blame their sins upon their parents.  We might would say “like father, like son” or “they’re a product of their raising”.
Generations of Israel had repeatedly turned against God and turned to idolatry.  From their idolatry, God had not turned away from them, but they had turned away from God.  There is a difference.  Sin has its price, and the children of Israel were paying that price as they were taken into captivity in Babylon, and ruled by King Nebuchadnezzar, who wanted them to worship his idol instead of God, and raise them to be a God-less people.

When you are a child, you are under your parents rule.  But when you become an adult, you must take ownership of your life and responsibility in how you live and your relationship with God.  In this chapter as well as the rest of the Bible, God repeatedly presses the point that we are individually and personally responsible for our sins.  You can’t inherit your righteousness from your parents, not even if your father was Billy Graham!  You can’t inherit their sins either.  You have to make your way to Christ individually.  It’s a one-on-one relationship with Christ that saves us from ourselves. 
God continues at the end of the chapter showing a cure for the sins of the children who blamed their parents and their sinful ways on their current lifestyle.  He says in Ezekiel 18:30-32 “Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways,”…“Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity[sin] will not be your ruin.  Cast away from you all the transgressions[sins] which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel?  For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,”…“Therefore turn and live!”

Our sin doesn’t cause God to turn from us, but through it we turn from God.  When you’re filled with sin and guilt at how you’ve lived, the last thing you want is to examine yourself and have those sins pointed out.  Yet, that’s what being in the presence of God will do.  It will show you your flaws.  But it does more! It will cause you to turn from those sins, respecting the will of God and the new Spirit and Heart within you, and desire to live differently.  Turn back to Him, and live.

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