Ezekiel 18:23 (NIV): “Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked?” declares the Sovereign LORD. ”Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?”
I remember driving through the West Virginia mountains before the completion of Interstate 64. Crazy. It was a two lane road with many “switchbacks,” like shown in the picture, to get you up and down the mountains. I was constantly turning… constantly changing direction. It was a hard drive.
Having served for over three decades in the military I am also very familiar with marching. Yes… even chaplains had to march! The command, “to the rear march” meant that I would completely change direction. I was going one way and then I was going the opposite way.
To follow Jesus also requires a complete change of direction. Even if we don’t realize it, before we follow Jesus, we are following the world. This change, to follow Jesus, is called “repentance.”
Ezekiel was an Old Testament Prophet who was also a Jewish Priest. He had been exiled from Jerusalem and was living in Babylonia. He was well aware of the wicked people in his world. God reminded him in the above verse that He wants wicked people to change course and “turn from their ways” in order to live.
This verse speaks to me. I see the evil in our world. In fact I can get very frustrated with all the evil. In spite of that frustration, I want to align with my God who is pleased when the wicked turn and start following Him. My God desires all people who are not following Him to follow. Why? Because God loves. He wants me to love others too, even the wicked ones.
Prayer: Lord God, I join You in seeking the best for even the “wicked.” May I also be “pleased” when they turn from their former ways to follow You. I pray for all those who have not embraced Your truths. May they embrace Your Son as their Savior and Lord.