“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? … 29 But the house of Israel says, ‘The way of the Lord is not right.’ Are My ways not right, O house of Israel? Is it not your ways that are not right?” (18:25, 29).
Can you even fathom accusing God of not being Right? As a reminder from yesterday, He Will Bring Down the High. And twice God, repeats His question to the house of Israel. I hope I would have had the good sense to be shaking in my shoes!
A repeat…His call to pay attention. Israel, examine yourself. I don’t really understand their objection to the Lord’s proclamations. Throughout this chapter, the Lord repeatedly declared that each person would take responsibility for their own sins, would reap what they sow.
Like I said, doesn’t seem like an objectionable argument, except that it went against what they had come to believe as true: their spiritual birthright was inherited from their father Abraham. He was declared righteous so that should inherently be passed down to them.
But God was going to shake their belief system. And people don’t usually take kindly to that sort of thing.
Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 2 “What do you mean by using this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying,
‘The fathers eat the sour grapes,
But the children’s teeth are set on edge’?
3 As I live,” declares the Lord God, “you are surely not going to use this proverb in Israel anymore. 4 Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine. The soul who sins will die,” (18:1-3).
And God would correct their erroneous doctrines, their traditions of men that had become their barometer of Truth.
And He said to them, “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written:
‘This people honors Me with their lips,
But their heart is far away from Me.
7 ‘But in vain do they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’
8 Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men,” (Mark 7:6-8).
And He would repeat His Truth. The traditions of men cannot save us from our sins. Only God has the Right to declare one as righteous, for only God is Holy. And challenging Him will only lead to more error. But if we pay attention to Him Whose Way Is Right, He will lead us in His Way that Is Right.
Consider Him Whose Way Is Right
The majority of this chapter is God setting His people straight. Every person will be judged for their own sins. And in sending His prophet, yet again, we hear His heart, again.
“Do I have any pleasure in the death of the wicked,” declares the Lord God, “rather than that he should turn from his ways and live?” (18:23).
“For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,” declares the Lord God. “Therefore, repent and live,” (18:32).
Another repeat. Pay attention! God’s finds no pleasure in the death of the wicked. For He sent His Son that we might be saved by Him Whose Way Is Right, that we might repent and live.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me,” (John 14:6).
“And now, brethren, I know that you acted in ignorance, just as your rulers did also. 18 But the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. 19 Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,” (Acts 3:17-19).
How do we respond to Him Whose Ways Is Right?
Scripture has much to say about our salvation and deliverance from sin that is only found in Him Whose Way Is Right; and much to say about the pitfalls of believing we are right in our own eyes.
Remember why the people were in such a cyclical mess during the time of the Judges? In those days, the cycle was perpetual. Fall into the despair of sin. Cry out for help. Experience His deliverance. Forget and fall again. Why? They followed after their own ways rather than Him Whose Way Is Right
In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes, (Judges 17:6).
In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes, (Judges 21:25).
And through Isaiah, God warned us to lament that sin of pride that professes we are right in our own eyes.
Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes
And clever in their own sight! (Isaiah 5:21).
Oh, let us seek the counsel of Him Whose Way Is Right, that we would not follow the way of a fool.
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,
But a wise man is he who listens to counsel, (Proverbs 12:15).
Let us ask Him to weigh our motives and attitudes, that we would follow Him Whose Way Is Right.
Every man’s way is right in his own eyes,
But the Lord weighs the hearts, (Proverbs 21:2).
Many of us are familiar with, or even able to quote Proverbs 3:5-6.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight, (Proverbs 3:5-6).
But we don’t often follow up with verse 7, which perhaps is really the only Way we can trust Him with all our heart, the only Way we won’t lean on our own understanding, the only Way we will follow His straight path.
For only He has made the Way. Let us ask Him to grow us in humility, holy reverence, awe and fear before Him that we would turn away from evil and turn to follow Him Whose Way Is Right.
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord and turn away from evil, (Proverbs 3:5-7).