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May 9 / Chuck Smith, Jr.

Ezekiel 33:10-11- Chuck Smith Jr. May 9, 2010

Ezekiel 33:10-11

Now as for you Son of man, say to the house of Israel, “Thus you have spoken, saying, ‘Surely our transgresions and our sins are upon us, and we are rotting away in them; how then can we survive?’ Say to them, ‘As I live!’ declares the Lord GOD, ‘I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn form his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways! Why then will you die, O house of Israel?'”

INTRO: I always get frustrated when reading the few chapters of 1 Kings
A decisive moment – fork in the road
the two paths seem very clear (a God’s-eye view)
but these men make wrong choice, rewrite destiny and ruin it
choice was based on self-serving motives

  • Adonijah (1:50-52; 2:13-17)
  • Shemei (2:30-46)
  • Solomon (3:3-14; 6:11-12; 11:1-13)
  • Rehoboam (12:1-16)
  • Jeroboam (11:30-38; 12:26-33)
  • “man of God” (13:7-10; 15-22)

As I read, I want to intervene and stop them
creates a feeling of crushing disappointment
miss golden opportunity & create unnecessary suffering


Sometimes because people feel stuck, like there’s no other choice

  • stuck in an unhappy marriage
  • stuck in a mishandling of finances
  • people with out-of-control emotions

The wrong choice can feel inevitable

Keep you feet from being unshod And your throat from thirst; But you said, “It is hopeless! And after them I will walk” (Jer. 2:25)

But none of characters were like tragic heroes of Greek mythology
none were bound by fate or were victim of the gods
they all had free will and they all made the wrong choice

V. 10, not “survive,” but “live”–i.e., cope with life
How do we get feeling we are stuck?
Nerve cells in every part of our body react to stimulus
Even in normal health and resting state, the nervous system is constantly busy
The same stimulation of nerves causes the same physiological reaction
In a similar way, we form habits – we then react without thought
We get caught in a in which an event triggers a reaction

  • anger
  • overwhelmed, despair
  • anxiety

Message: “Turn back, turn back”
Tells us that either we turn (change) or die
keep going this way, we’ll reap what we’re planting

Logic of question, “Why then will you die?”
“If you’re free to choose, why choose to self-destruct?”
“Why self-sabotage if you don’t have to?”
Challenge: What is my reason for not changing
(Or “excuse”)

Jesus and the wealthy young man
reason: “he was one who owned much property”

How do we start “turning”
The question points to a starting point
Stop and ask the question

React is to “act back” – to immediately jump into action
This is how we’ve been programmed – action is required
And that’s how we forge the chains that bind us
But to “turn” is to stop doing what you’ve always done
Don’t react – suspend action – suspend doing anything
Practice silent prayer

It can feel like we’re doing nothing, but not true
We’re changing our behavior
We’re taking the time needed to respond rather than react
We are right in that moment breaking a habit

Observe our thoughts, “Why am I about to choose death?”
Come to greater clarity & wisdom

How can we make the future different from the present?
By making a different choice right now – get on a different path

CONC: The moment prodigal “came to his senses”
He was able to see a different future – able to see the solution

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