November 18 | Daily Devotion

November 18 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“Therefore, you Israelites, I will judge each of you according to your own ways, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall.” ~Ezekiel 18:30

The exiles living in Babylon blamed their troubles on their parents’ generation. “Our parents ate sour grapes and left a bad taste in our mouth” (Ezek. 18:2, paraphrase). In other words, we are stuck here in Babylon because our parents messed up! However, God will not abide blame shifting!

The prophet tells a story of a father who lives righteously. He doesn’t worship idols. He doesn’t commit adultery. He follows even obscure laws to a tee. Plus, he is honest at work, doesn’t take advantage of the poor, and helps those in need. This man will live! His son, however, does the opposite of his righteous father in every area. Therefore, he will die. His son decides to also do the opposite of his father, and so he follows in the steps of his grandfather. He, like his grandfather, will live.

The lessons of individual responsibility and accountability to God were too long neglected in a culture where community was so highly prized. The communal ethos of Israelite culture made the people more susceptible to blame shifting. While there is no denying that what our fathers do affects or influences us, it is equally true that children can and do make different choices than their parents. Some children decide to rebel against the teaching and example of good parents. Meanwhile, other children decide they want nothing to do with a bad parent’s lifestyle choices.

“I will judge you, each one according his ways” is the lesson of today’s reading, and it’s a message of hope (Ezek. 18:30). God deals with us where we are in the moment, not where our parents were ten years ago. If we are righteous and veer off God’s path, He will discipline us. If we are wicked and turn from our sin, God will bless us. Even if your heritage is one of wrong choices and rejection of God, you can do life differently. You can choose to love and serve God. Yours are the choices for which you will be judged.

Lectio Divina is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the senior pastor of Calvary Church in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.