Ezekiel 7:1-13 (NIV) 1 The word of the LORD came to me: 2 “Son of man, this is what the Sovereign LORD says to the land of Israel: The end! The end has come upon the four corners of the land. 3 The end is now upon you and I will unleash my anger against you. I will judge you according to your conduct and repay you for all your detestable practices. 4 I will not look on you with pity or spare you; I will surely repay you for your conduct and the detestable practices among you. Then you will know that I am the LORD. 5 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Disaster! An unheard-of disaster is coming. 6 The end has come! The end has come! It has roused itself against you. It has come! 7 Doom has come upon you–you who dwell in the land. The time has come, the day is near; there is panic, not joy, upon the mountains. 8 I am about to pour out my wrath on you and spend my anger against you; I will judge you according to your conduct and repay you for all your detestable practices. 9 I will not look on you with pity or spare you; I will repay you in accordance with your conduct and the detestable practices among you. Then you will know that it is I the LORD who strikes the blow. 10 “The day is here! It has come! Doom has burst forth, the rod has budded, arrogance has blossomed! 11 Violence has grown into a rod to punish wickedness; none of the people will be left, none of that crowd–no wealth, nothing of value. 12 The time has come, the day has arrived. Let not the buyer rejoice nor the seller grieve, for wrath is upon the whole crowd. 13 The seller will not recover the land he has sold as long as both of them live, for the vision concerning the whole crowd will not be reversed. Because of their sins, not one of them will preserve his life.
On verses 1-13: One phrase that gets repeated over and over in this passage is: “I will judge you according to your conduct and repay you for all your detestable practices” (v3, 4, 8, 9). Often times we can have an inflated view of ourselves. The world would make us want to think that we are pretty good people and that God thinks so too. I just heard one Hollywood celebrity post on social media, “All I’ve ever tried to do was help people”. Yet a more accurate and impartial assessment of our lives would show that while we are capable of some good and have probably done some good in our lifetime, we are also capable of much evil and have acted in sin, selfishness and pride. We must remember that God’s standards are not like ours. His standards absolutely perfect and that is why the Bible’s assessment of our conduct is that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). If God were indeed to judge us according to our conduct, none of us would stand a chance.
God could treat us as our conduct deserves, but praise God that He is much more merciful than that. For those of us who are humble enough to admit that we are sinners in need of a Saviour and who trust that Jesus is the Saviour we need, God does not treat us as our sins deserve. Rather He gives us unmerited favour and undeserved grace. That’s why David would write,
Psalm 103:8-10 (NIV) 8 The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. 9 He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; 10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.
Praise God. The cross of Jesus Christ is proof that God is willing to treat us not according to what our conduct deserves, but according to His undeserved mercy and unconditional love.
You and I have a choice to make. If you choose to have God treat you according to your conduct, all you would get is judgment and wrath. For none of us can meet God’s standards no matter how good we think we are. But if you choose to humbly receive the forgiveness that Jesus died on the cross to give you, what you get is His mercy, compassion and acceptance.
Heavenly Father, while You could always choose to treat us as our conduct deserves, repaying us for all the ways that we have sinned against You, instead You make undeserved mercy and grace available to us through Jesus Christ. Thank You! In Jesus’ name, AMEN!