READING: Ezekiel 44-45
TEXTS AND APPLICATION: We don’t often think about it at the time of commission, but our sin is costly. The consequences of sin can be long-term.
In Ezekiel’s writing, Levites who were in the line of unfaithful Levites were not permitted to serve as priests; instead, they could serve only as guards at the temple gates (Ezek. 44:10-14).
Ezek. 44:10, 12 Surely the Levites who wandered away from Me when Israel went astray, and who strayed from Me after their idols, will bear the consequences of their sin. . . . Because they ministered to the house of Israel before their idols and became a sinful stumbling block to them, therefore I swore an oath against them”—this is the declaration of the Lord God—“that they would bear the consequences of their sin."
The Levites had fallen into idolatry and had led others to do the same — and the repercussions of those choices affected others. Again, we don’t think about potential results at the moment of sin, but we can separate ourselves enough to recognize some of the potential consequences. Fractured relationships. Jail time. Wounded children. Interrupted, if not ended, ministry. Sexually-transmitted disease. Lost blessings. Consuming guilt. Destroyed witness. Broken families. Ongoing sleeplessness. Sinful bondage. Gut-level unhappiness. God’s displeasure. Coming judgment.
No wonder Jesus used such dramatic images (gouge out your eye, cut off your hand [Matt. 5:29]) to tell us to do what it takes to eradicate sin. You see, seldom do we first start out in blatant idolatry. Rather, we make small wrong choices that lead to bigger wrong choices that lead to even bigger wrong choices. Before we know it, we bear serious consequences for our wrong.
PRAYER: “God, give me grace to see the consequences when I focus on only the temporary fun of sin. Let me see enough of tomorrow’s pain that I make the right choices today.”
TOMORROW¹S READING: Ezekiel 46-48