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Light, Life & Increase

Shane Willard

Page 2 of 9
Forgiveness was never the issue. The Torah was given so forgiven people would know how to live, in order to be blessed. The Abrahamic covenant was unconditional, based on faith in God's faithfulness. The mosaic covenant was conditional, based on obedience. Your forgiveness was unconditional, your blessing was conditional. In other words you could live your whole life forgiven, saved to the bone, born again, child of God, whatever word or nomenclature you want to put on it you could live your whole life forgiven to the bone, I'll see you in heaven one day, but yet miss the whole blessing; that you live in darkness, disrepair, death. The realm of these things come over you; whereas light, life and increase was the opposite of that. Now with that in mind, let's look at Ezekiel 18:1. We're going to work through probably the whole chapter, so we're going to do it fast.

The word of the Lord came to me. What do you people mean, by quoting this proverb about the land of Israel? You've got to hate it when God starts a passage that way. What do you people mean, by quoting this proverb about the land of Israel? "The fathers eat sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge". As surely as I live, declares the Lord your God, you will never quote this proverb to Me again.

Now quick question: The father eats sour grapes, so it sets the children's teeth on edge. Couple of questions: 1) what did this mean? 2) why is God so ticked off about it? Just to understand where these people are, this is the Book of Ezekiel. The Book of Ezekiel was written to the children of Israel while they were in Babylon. The reason they were in Babylon, is because they were in slavery. Now you've got to understand their history to understand the depth of this. The children of Israel started in slavery. They were slaves in Egypt for 430 years, and then God chooses to rescue them; and He tells them: I want you to be a kingdom of priests for Me. In other words, I want you to show the whole world what life would be like, if God was in charge.

Now to these people, God was someone who frees slaves; so God is calling them to set the captives free. He's calling them to free people from slavery. He's calling them to be a beacon of light, life, and increase. Did they do that? No! This is what 1 Kings, Chapter 10 says. It says: this is the account of the forced labour, that Solomon forced to build the temple to the Lord. So here's a guy who has a heritage of freed slaves, forcing slaves to build a temple, to honour the Lord who frees the slaves.

He failed to see the hypocrisy in it, so God says: no, no, no, no, this is not happening. So they end up back in slavery again, and here's what they were taught: the reason you're in slavery, is because David's son - they wouldn't even say his name at that time - is because David's son failed. Remember the Queen of Sheba came to Solomon and said: you have been placed over Israel to maintain justice and righteousness to the poor and the oppressed. Did he do that? No.

So what they told themselves in slavery was: we're in slavery today, because David's son failed. David's son failed, and that's why we're here; so a proverb ensued: My father ate sour grapes, so it sets my teeth on edge. In other words, the only reason I'm where I am, is because my dad messed up. Interesting, they were in slavery for 430 years, then they were free for 430 years, and then they end up back in slavery; and the prophets, while they're in slavery, start saying things like this: Don't despair, take heart, God is going to send a new son of David!