Put Away the Sour Grapes

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Put Away the Sour Grapes!
A favorite way that people today make excuses for their mistakes is to simply blame them on somebody else, and the blame most of the time is given to someone that is not there to defend themselves. It is the parents' fault, or the husband's, or the wife's, or peers', or society's. or it’s the previous generations fault that we have the troubles that we do now. It’s not my fault. This is not the first generation to excuse its rotten behavior and the physical suffering it produces on previous generations. It is not the first to echo the plaintive cry, "We are not responsible!" Notice what the Lord had to say when people of Ezekiel's day made a similar complaint:
SLIDE 3 "Then the word of the Lord came to me saying, 'What do you mean by this proverb concerning the land of Israel saying, 'The fathers eat the sour grapes, But the children's teeth are set on edge'? As I live,' declares the Lord God, 'you are surely not going to use this proverb in Israel anymore." (). It had become a fashionable thing to say, a common excuse to blame the troubles of the nation of Israel on the previous generations. It’s not that those generations were without fault, they were not, it is just that the present generation shared the responsibility for their troubles. They had drawn a clever picture of a parent eating a sour grape but the children's teeth being set on edge as if to say they were only innocent victims and not to blame for their suffering and error.
This same statement is used in the book of Jeremiah also:
In those days they shall say no more: 'The fathers have eaten sour grapes, And the children's teeth are set on edge.' 30 But every one shall die for his own iniquity; every man who eats the sour grapes, his teeth shall be set on edge.
"As I live," says the Lord God, "you shall no longer use this proverb in Israel.
The people needed to know that their fathers were not responsible for all of their problems. Throughout the first 24 chapters of Ezekiel, we see that the reason for the judgment that was coming to Jerusalem was not because of their fathers’ sins but because of their own. Within the first 24 chapters the word rebellious is used over 20 times to describe the nation of Israel that Ezekiel was preaching to.
Their blaming their fathers for their predicament worked against them, because as long as they were blaming someone else for their problems they would not be seeking to make the needed corrections in their own lives. That is the essential message of the eighteenth chapter; Wake up and accept responsibility for yourselves and do something to make yourself right with the Lord. It occurs to me that the same message is sorely needed by our own society today, where more often than not, the head defense in courts of law is no longer "I didn't do it" but rather "It's someone else's fault I did it." Tragically for our society and our families, it seems to be working. One can literally get away with murder!
But that’s not the way it is with the Lord!
We all need to accept that we are personally responsible to the Lord for the decisions that we make.
CLICK "Behold, all souls are Mine; The soul of the father As well as the soul of the son is Mine; The soul who sins shall die.
Yes, the corrupt kings of the past and present had led the nation into the worst kinds of idolatry, but each individual needed to make the choice whether or not to serve the Lord or idols of wood and stone. They suffered some consequences because of the idolatry of their fathers, but not everything was to be blamed on them. Ezekiel points out that each soul is directly responsible as an individual to God. Also, the destiny of each soul directly relates as to whether one is willing to accept his or her responsibility for conduct, to turn from sin and unto righteousness, and serve God. If he has walked in My statutes And kept My judgments faithfully-- He is just; He shall surely live!" Says the Lord God.
"Yet you say, 'Why should the son not bear punishment for the father's iniquity?' When the son has practiced justice and righteousness, and has observed all My statutes and done them, he shall surely live. The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father's iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the sons iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself." (,).
God declares that we are all individually responsible for our own conduct. My father's righteousness will not save me, nor will his wickedness condemn me. I do not inherit my standing with God from my ancestors. Though I may suffer some of the consequences for their sins, my standing with God is based upon my own actions.
The Lord tells the people through Ezekiel in verses 10-18 that if the just has a wicked son, the son will not live because of his father’s righteousness. If a wicked man has a son, and the son sees his father’s evil ways and does not follow in them, he will live, but his wicked father will still die.
We are neither innocent nor guilty by association. Just because our name is on a church membership roster, or we’ve been part of the same church as mom and dad all our lives does not make us right with the Lord! We each individually need to do what is needed to be right with the Lord.
Also, it is important to notice from this text that it is not enough to merely know the way of righteousness, or agree with it, but one must practice it. How fashionable it is today to suggest that obedience to God is unimportant. But the scriptures are clear that the one who fails to obey the commandments of God will not stand before God as innocent on the Day of Judgment.
SLIDE 5 IS GOD FAIR? CLICK "Yet you say, 'The way of the Lord is not right.' Hear now, O house of Israel! Is My way not right? Is it not your ways that are not right?”
Israel did not agree with the judgments of the Lord. They wanted to do it their own way. They were saying that the Lord was not being just, but they were in their actions. It is blind and foolish for anyone to say that their ways are right and God's ways are wrong! Yet, we find that is exactly what many are saying today, just like in Ezekiel's day. Our nation and even a good amount of churches today have thrown aside the Scriptures as the right way. They say that God’s commandments are not fair, or that they are not just. But what it comes down to, our God created us, and He knows what is best for us! There are so many people that want to do things that the scriptures condemn insisting that God's word is not right or that it is obsolete. For example, the Scriptures condemn homosexuality. The scriptures say that it is not natural, that it is an abomination to God, but the politically correct say homosexuality is a fine, that it’s just an alternative lifestyle. The same is true when it comes to God’s laws on marriage, divorce, and remarriage. People do not want to accept what the bible teaches, saying that the Lord’s way is not fair. In this, they echo the words of those of Ezekiel's day: "The way of the Lord is not right." to which the answer comes; "Is My way not right? Is it not your ways that are not right?" Those that continue to live by the Scriptures are openly ridiculed as ignorant or bigoted. We all need to remember that the Lord’s ways are not our ways. God’s way is always fair, even when we do not understand why the Lord made a law the way that He did. God knows what is best for us and He knows what can hurt our relationship with Him. We need to accept God’s laws as written, never saying that they are unfair. After what the Lord has done for us, we should view no command that we are given as unjust and unfair, but rejoice that we are told what we need to do to be in the closest possible relationship with the Lord.
SLIDE 6 GOD IS PATIENT 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?
The Lord has no pleasure in the condemnation of the wicked. There is one way for those who are in sin to get right with the Lord. They must simply repent of the wrong in their lives and obey God. The same applies to us as His children. If we are living in sin, we need to repent.
TURN TOà The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. 11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. 14 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; 15 and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation…”
Each individual needs to come to repentance. I am so grateful that our God was longsuffering with me. He gave me the opportunity to come to repentance and to serve Him. We all need to be thankful that our God is a patient God, and that He gives us time to turn away from our sin.
But we also need to remember that our patient God will judge us. His judgment can happen at any time, so we need to be diligent to be ready for the Lord’s coming. We are told by Peter that as the Lord’s people that we need to be holy in our conduct and godly.
The Lord said to Israel through Ezekiel:
"Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways," says the Lord God. "Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin. 31 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? 32 For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies," says the Lord God. "Therefore turn and live!
The Lord gives us so many opportunities to repent, just as He did with Israel. The Lord sent so many prophets to plead with His people to return to Him. But they rejected Him. The Lord has given us His word today. We hear sermon after sermon every week. We study the bible often. But are we accepting what it teaches and conforming our lives to it? He pleads with us to return to Him in His word, if only we will be willing to always listen.
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God. 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
The nation of Israel was pleaded with by the Lord to return to Him, yet they were unwilling to listen. They were too preoccupied with feeling sorry for themselves and blaming other people for their troubles. “It’s not my fault” was the proverb of the day. 'The fathers eat the sour grapes, But the children's teeth are set on edge'?
Do we make the same excuses for remaining in sin? Do we make the same excuses for why we have the troubles in this life that we do?
Each one of us needs to take a long look at our lives and see what the truth is. I am personally accountable to the God of heaven for the decisions that I make in this life! I don’t inherit my father’s sins or His righteousness. I am not right with God because I spend time with the Lord’s people.
What it comes down to is, If I leave this life unprepared to be before the Lord in judgment, it’s not anyone’s fault but my own! If you leave this life unprepared to meet your God, it is not your parent’s fault, nor our fault, but your own fault!
You and I need to make the decision on whether or not we will take responsibility for the welfare of our souls and decide this day that we are going to do what is instructed of us by the Lord to be right with Him. Let’s stop making excuses for why we allow sin to reign in our lives and make the needed changes. I thank you for your kind attention.
If there is anything that we can do to serve you today, why don’t you make your needs known as we sing the song our brother has selected.
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