Ezekiel 33:11-17, The Character of Conviction

Ezekiel 33:11, “…’As surely as I live, declares the SOVEREIGN LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their wicked ways and live. Turn!” (NIV)

Ezekiel 33:17, “Yet your people say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ But it is their way that is not just.” (NIV)

There is often a question posed from a cynical, unbelieving society. And the question is framed something like this, “If God is loving why does He allow so much tragedy to take place?”. Inherent in this inquiry, acknowledged or not, is the false principle that God is comfortable with seeing such calamities and atrocities occur. The Lord Himself dispels this sentiment in Ezekiel 33:11.

Ezekiel 33:11 affirms that God does not delight in human pain or angst. In fact, the suffering of mankind displeases Him. Mankind kind was created to experience contentment and happiness, but this contentment and happiness come by aligning our will with God’s will. And when we live in communion, in fellowship, with God we find a wonderful state of satisfaction. Interestingly, accountability for mistakes and adoration of God are two clear themes repeated throughout Ezekiel, which are still applicable to the modern-day Christian church.

But notice the state of the collective heart in Ezekiel 33:17. The people of Judah and Israel doubted God’s goodness. They doubted His sovereign rule. And this internal, spiritual defection was largely driven by feelings, not faith or conviction. The truth is feelings do not produce a sustainable life of righteousness, or God-honoring virtues. Why? Because feelings are temporal – they are momentary. They come and go. They ebb and flow. They quickly change due to ever-changing conditions and circumstances. But not faith. Not conviction. Faith and conviction are disciplines that are not based on good fortunes, or ideal fates. No, they are binding because they are tied to the everlasting power and praise of God. So let us live through faith, and not self-serving feelings – feelings that pull us away from God, not closer. 

Kevin Orr (9/1/2018) 


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