For an introduction to this series, click here.
Oct. 2, 2006
More doom for Israel. At least in this passage Ezekiel does have a positive future message. 20:33-44 foretells a time when Israel will be brought back to its own land and they will follow God perfectly. God says He will do this to bring honor to His name, and not because of the righteousness of the Jews.
Even Ezekiel seems to be tired of what God is telling him to say. In 20:49 Ezekiel says, "Ah, Lord GOD! They are saying of me, 'Is he not a maker of parables?'" Ezekiel did not stop pronouncing God's judgment, but even he was tired of trying to preach to people who were not paying any attention. We will hear more on that topic later in the book.
The one phrase that stands out to me is one that is repeated three times in the span of a few verses. It concerns the law of God:
I gave them my statutes, and made known to them my rules, by which, if a person does them, he shall live. (20:11)
They did not walk in my statutes but rejected my rules, by which, if a person does them, he shall live.(20:13)
They did not walk in my statutes and were not careful to obey my rules, by which, if a person does them, he shall live. (20:21)
Paul also repeats this in Romans 10:5:
For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them. (ESV)
This must have been a common quotation among the Jewish people. Ezekiel repeats the same combination of words three times as a reminder. This statement is first made by Moses in Leviticus.
Even though the time of the old Jewish law has passed, the principle still applies. God's commands are not burdensome. They are the path to real life. The person who lives by the Word of God will live, will know what life is really about.