…Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? – Ezek 33:11 KJV
The devotional today is based on a scriptural verse that is part of the message of the Prophet Ezekiel to the Israelites. He, like other prophets of his ilk, did all within his spiritual ability to let the Israelites in his time, to ,know that all they were about to experience and eventually experienced were the reward of their transgressions of the instructions of Jehovah.
Commissioned by Jehovah as His representative among the Israelites at the age of thirty (Ezek. 2:1 – 3:10), he had grown up in the surroundings of the temple in Jerusalem. Saddled thus with the responsibility of being Jehovah’s Watchman for the people, he had no choice but to consistently caution them on all their negative acts, and the need for them to repent, whether they listened or not, if he was not going to be blamed for the disaster that was going to come to the people, for not repenting from their many transgressions against the instructions of Jehovah – Ezek. 4:1 – 8:18; Ezek. 33:1-9.
Though they made some feeble attempts at repenting (Ezek. 9:1 – 11) it was insufficient to sway Jehovah whose glory that had descended during the commissioning of the temple by King Solomon, eventually departed the temple – Ezek. 10: 1-22; 2Chr. 7:1.
Jehovah had found the elders (Ezek. 11:1-16), the Prophets (Ezek. 13:1-23), and all the people culpable of that great sin of idolatry which to Him will always be the peak of unfaithfulness. There was no way they could avoid punishment for such grievous crime especially when they were not willing to genuinely repent – Ezek. 14:1 – 20:49. Yes they will be forgiven, but not before they undergo the requisite punishment for their rebellious act with Jehovah handing them over to the Babylonians who, not only took them into exile but oppressed them seriously – Ezek. 21:1 – 24:14. Even Ezekiel was not spared as it was in the middle of these judgmental act of Jehovah that he was told that his wife, who was his delight was going to be taken away and he was not expected to mourn her – Ezek. 24:15-27. Hmmmm. What a price to pay for being Jehovah’s spokesperson.
Though Jehovah went that length to demonstrate his anger against his people for their unfaithfulness and idolatry, he had plans to punish all the tools used to inflict punishment on the people – Ezek. 25:1 – 32:32), as He still harbored deep love for His people and was even promising better times ahead. Now this was another prophecy that the people were not ready to believe, not with the extent to which Jehovah had gone in punishing them, as they wondered how their fortunes could ever turn around for good.
The reality with Jehovah however is that they will always have a chance of being restored, as long as they are willing to change from their evil ways as that is the only reason why they are living the life of the dead even when they are physically alive.
According to the foundation scripture for today’s devotional,
- Jehovah does not have any delight in the death of any soul even that of one acknowledged to be wicked, more so, His beloved ones who have derailed – Lk. 15:11-32.
- Jehovah will rather want such to live, though only on the condition that such will turn away completely from evil acts – Joel 2:32; Rom. 10:13.
- Yet he wonders why it seemed they had preference for their present living-dead situation as they have refused to genuinely repent even while in exile – Lev. 26:14-45.
Though that event and the follow-up recommendation was in relation to the House of Israel, it remains an evergreen advise and definitely relevant today. If only Christians in particular and all humans in general are sufficiently aware of how much transgressing the laws of Jehovah has contributed to their present intolerable situation, they will not need to be appealed to severally to avoid committing such acts. Truth be told, the failure recorded by many today in their prayer lives is simply because transgression has turned them into people who are spiritually dead and inexistent to Jehovah, and so will always record failure in their attempt to get what only the living can obtain from Him.
Many are actually spiritually dead without realizing it and this, being a consequence of their refusal to heed the several warnings of Jehovah. In that condition, they are physically alive but have no spiritual connection with Him, as all such links are broken. One then begins to wonder what such expects prayers to do when all spiritual records of such before Him have been closed. No wonder, prayers are not working for such people, neither are all the spiritual activities like fasting and vigils.
Rather than looking for inexistent “Princes of Persia” that are supposed to be constituting obstacles to results of prayers been delivered (Dan. 10:13-21), or blaming Jehovah for refusing to grant those long term requests, you will be doing yourself a lot of good if you spend time determining whether you are spiritually alive or dead. After all, just as the spiritually dead cannot praise Jehovah even before they become physically dead and go into the grave (Psa. 115:17), Jehovah also does not grant the request of the spiritually dead – Jn. 9:31.
It is however not a closed case for the one who is still physically alive as like the proverbial dead tree and dried bones, such can still receive the grace to live – Job 14:7-9; Ezek. 37:1-14. Seize that opportunity today by honestly assessing your actions side-by-side the instructions of Jehovah with the intention to identify where you have erred – 1Jn. 1:9. Repent of all those acts that are not proper and seek his forgiveness over them – Acts 3:19. Strip yourself of all those garments of self-righteousness which the Prophet Isaiah compares to filthy rags and you can be hopeful that Jehovah will bring you back to life – Isa. 64:6. That is when you can ask him for things that only the living require and stand a chance of Him granting such requests. May Jehovah save us from the wages of sin in Jesus name. Amen.