Ezekiel 18:1-32

Whether you had parents or were raised by a relative or were raised by the system, someone had an impressionable role in your life as a child.  Perhaps you were blessed with “good” parents who only made a few mistakes.  Or, perhaps you had parents or some adult who abused you or led you down some destructive paths.  In either case, these adults did what they did, and you didn’t have a choice in it.  There are two questions to ask.

  1. Have you forgiven them?
  2. Have you gotten past it and taken responsibility for your own actions?

God is going to test your life based upon your decisions, not your parents.  Let’s ask God for a “new heart” and a “new spirit” today.

Much of modern psychology has been invested in studying the effects of parents on the development (healthy or unhealthy) of the individual’s psyche.  My parents were __________, therefore I’m the way I am.  While this is true to a great extent, it is also a terrible trap that can lead to irresponsibility, excuse making, a victim mentality,  and an inability to change.  This is not just a modern phenomenon.  The people of Jerusalem were suffering the same malady.  In Ezekiel 18, the prophet preaches against this dangerous philosophy and practice.

Read the following excerpt for a great summary of vv. 1-2.

God asked Ezekiel about a proverb being circulated. This proverb—The fathers eat sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge—must have been well known in Israel because Jeremiah also quoted it (cf. Jer. 31:29-30). The proverb’s point was that children were suffering because of their parents’ sins. True, Jerusalem was suffering, but as stated in the proverb the people thought they were suffering not because of their sins but because of their parents‘ sins.So these people were blaming God for punishing them unjustly (cf. Ezek. 18:25).

God saw that this false proverb had to be refuted. Yet, as with all false doctrines, a kernel of truth in the teaching made it seem plausible. In the Ten Commandments God indicated that He was “a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me” (Ex. 20:5). This same threat was repeated in Exodus 34:6-7 and Deuteronomy 5:9. Even Ezekiel had traced God’s coming judgment back to the people’s past actions (cf. Ezek. 16:15-29). But the point of these passages was that the effects of sin are serious and long-lasting, not that God capriciously punishes the innocent for their ancestors’ evil ways.

Blaming others for their misfortunes, the people were denying their own guilt. This was wrong because every individual is personally responsible to God. For every living soul belongs to Me, the father as well as the son. Those who are guilty will receive their own deserved punishment. The soul who sins is the one who will die (cf. 18:20). The people of Israel could not rightly charge God with injustice.

Walvoord, J. F. (1983-c1985). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures (Eze 18:1). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

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