BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY…. “Yet your people say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just,’ when it is their own way that is not just.” Ezekiel 33:17 ESV
“It’s not fair!” yells one sibling to a parent when they make a decision about their brother or sister. It seems that the concept of “fairness” is one that is dependent upon who is “getting the break” or who is “getting the punishment.” Someone once observed, “we want mercy for ourselves and justice for everyone else.”
First of all we can all be glad that we are on “this side of the cross.” The forgiveness and grace of the Lord covers our sins by virtue of the cross and we are no longer under the “law.” But as Ezekiel addressed God’s people the message is focused on where you stand when life is over.
The Lord declares that the one who trusts in his own righteousness and begins to act unjustly and wickedly will pay the price for turning from obedience and blessing. Conversely the one who has acted wickedly and yet turns to a life of repentance and obedience will be “saved.”
To this the people declare, “God is not fair!” To them, like many today, they would weigh in the balances “good” and “bad” and then make a determination as to which outweighed the other. So in their minds a life that was more “good” than “bad” could not be negated by the “bad” and the life that was more “bad” than “good” could not be negated from by the “good.”
The contrast between God’s standards the people’s response is clear, “Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ O house of Israel, I will judge each of you according to his ways.” (Ezekiel 33:20)
My attention is drawn to the Lord’s statement, “I will judge each of you according to his ways.” It is interesting how human standards say, “the same for everyone.” the Lord’s standard is, “Each person and their situation is different.” So when the Lord acts differently than our human standard and perspective we declare Him to be “unfair.”
I am thankful the Lord is not constrained by the human standard of “precedent.” Consider the thief on the cross. A “deathbed” request of the Lord changed his eternal destiny. Some would say, “unfair.” At the extreme I have had people whose judgement of the Lord and His ways caused them to rebel or stay in their sin. For them, what they can’t accept or agree to they won’t believe in.
This makes me think of the words of Isaiah, “Woe to those who quarrel with their Maker, those who are nothing but potsherds among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making?’ Does your work say, ‘The potter has no hands’? (Isaiah 45:9)
As we look at the New Testament, here are some consistent standards of the Lord. “All have sinned.” (Romans 3:23) and “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13)
We are better off to accept what is clear, and to trust the specifics to the Lord. If we analyze too minutely we can find ourselves, judging the judge, instead of trusting the judge. Our confidence can be, “Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Genesis 18:25)
Prayer for today….. Lord give us the trust and faith to yield our lives to You, even when we are tempted say, “unfair!” There is much that we don’t understand and we can be quick to judge, but we do so by human standards. Thank you that You are God and we are not.