The first few entries here "testing" the system made me think that perhaps Ezekiel had been tested by his fellow exiles. I wonder how many times Ezekiel has heard those in exile pass the buck and blame their troubles on "the sins of the fathers" which the children bear to the third and fourth generations. It's a safe approach to their misfortune - blame it on someone else, in this case their forebears. No need to look closely at one's own self to find a fault. Just pass the blame off to someone who isn't even around to defend him/herself. Surely Ezekiel gets tired of hearing this.
It reminds me of some of my college classmates who had a fine knack for blaming their struggles on "uncaring, out-of-touch" professors. So much easier than looking to themselves to find the root of the problem. So what about us and our congregations? Do any of us or our people fall into this same trap? Surely not!
Ezekiel proclaims the good news loud and clear: "Repent and turn from all your transgressions; ...turn, then, and live." God is a righteous Judge, and God does not judge us before calling us back into right relationship. God does not will that we die, but that we live. And to that end God does not give us up to our own devices, but continues to invite us to take responsibility for our lives and to turn to God and live. Thanks be to God!
Jim in the Blue Ridge