I have made it a habit over the past many years to read through the Bible at least two times per year. It is a part of my spiritual discipline and daily devotions. It at times is dry (mainly because of my heart, not God's Word) but at other times, God speaks truth and I am most fortunate to hear.
The other day, as I was working my way through Isaiah, Jeremiah and now into Ezekiel, a thought occurred to me. It seems that there are three things that keep coming up regarding Israel and her sin: rejecting God's Law, idolatry, and breaking the Sabbath. Then the thought came that these are really measuring sticks of how much Israel loved or did not love their Creator God.
If we love God with all our heart, mind and strength, He gives us the desire to follow His Law, His way (image) and to honor Him in all we do and say (such as honoring Him on His Sabbath). Interesting enough, the desire for these things (to follow God) actually comes from Him and we cannot have that desire unless God gives it.
Moreover, the love and desire that God gives us for Himself and that which should grow as we grow in Him, has external manifestations and consequences. In other words, each of the prophets mentioned above talk about how Israel has strayed from God (idolatry, breaking His Law, not keeping the Sabbath) and what that means to relationships to their fellow Israelites and to the nations as a whole. Ezekiel says, "You adulterous wife! You prefer strangers to your own husband!" (Ezekiel 16:32). And thus the result was that, "(you) were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; (you) did not help the poor and needy. (You) were haughty and did detestable things before me..." (Ezekiel 16:49)
This is the very thing that Jesus was saying in the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:34-39). The summary of the Law and Prophets? Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind...Love your neighbor as yourself."
When we sin, we sin against God. When we sin against God, it has great implications for our fellow believers and for our neighbors as well. We cannot be lulled into thinking that our sins only affect us. There are consequences personally for our sins but also corporately. I guess the statement is that none of us sin in a vacuum.
Praise be to God that He has established this great love/trust relationship with us through His Son Jesus Christ and what He did on the cross.
Praise be to God that even after I know Jesus as my Lord and Savior and I still sin, He still loves me, seeks me and draws me to Himself.
Praise be to God however far my sins take me from Him and from perfect community with His body, He is always standing at the gate, looking for the lost and wandering child such as I to come home.
As Ezekiel says, "The soul who sins is the one who will die." (Ezekiel 18:20) "But if a wicked man turns away from all the sins he has committed and keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right, he will surely live; he will not die." (Ezekiel 18:21)
I don't know about you, but I choose life in God...