“Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?” says the Lord God, “and not that he should turn from his ways and live?” (Ezekiel 18:23)
God had a big lesson for Israel in this little rhetorical question. Akin to the mentality of many people today, there were some in Israel who had the wrong idea about God, his mercy, his wrath and his judgment. Instead of taking personal responsibility for their own sin, Ezekiel’s generation sought to blame their forefathers, their looming captors and even God for their current condition. Their impression was that God was putting the people on edge because he enjoyed it and not because they were responsible for it. God said think again!
The very accusation they had toward God revealed that they did not know God. They had forsaken his ways in their heart. They had rebelled from being his special people to being a people headed for ruin:
“Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,” says the Lord God. “Therefore turn and live!” (Ezekiel 18:31-32)
God pleaded with his people through his prophet. He wanted his people to turn and learn; but they wanted to turn and spurn. They refused a yoke that bound them to God in exchange for a yoke that bound them to sin.
Does God yearn to show mercy? You can’t read his word and not learn the answer to that, for he still offers the yoke of salvation that keeps us from wearing a yoke of bondage to sin (Matthew 11:28-30, Romans 6:16-18). EA
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his word, as he seems to some, but he is waiting in mercy for you, not desiring the destruction of any, but that all may be turned from their evil ways.” (2 Peter 3:9 – BBE)
God Gives Boundaries For A Reason – Keltonburg Preacher