Does not oppress anyone, but restores to the debtor his pledge, commits no robbery, gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with a garment, does not take advance or accrued interest, withholds his hand from iniquity, executes true justice between contending parties, follows my statutes, and is careful to observe my ordinances, acting faithfully—such a one is righteous; he shall surely live, says the Lord God.
Reflection: The situation: Sixth century B.C. Jerusalem has been destroyed. The king has been executed. The people are in exile in Babylon. Ezekiel is one of their leaders in Babylon… and he is angry. They’re playing the blame game: “Our forefathers are responsible for our misery because they did not follow Torah law, our children are responsible because they are rebellious, God is responsible because he buckled under to the Babylonian god.” NO, Ezekiel admonishes them. YOU are responsible and YOU are accountable. Stop blaming everybody else.
This is one of my favorite chapters in the whole Bible because it stresses individual responsibility and accountability. It forces us to examine our own actions rather than be judgmental of others. But it also makes me cringe. Ezekiel reminds me that I have responsibility to care for fellow humans, but I know that I haven’t done all I feel called to do. Among other things I haven’t sent my check to World Hunger appeal. I haven’t volunteered at Midwest Food Bank. I haven’t contacted my legislators to advocate for the hungry. How about you?
Prayer: Come Lord Jesus, be our guest, and let these gifts by you be blessed. Blessed be God who is our bread. May all the world be clothed and fed. Amen.