A recent conversation with a well-read sister in Christ began with the question, “Do you think that what is happening today is God’s response to our corporate sin?” This is a question being asked in many faith circles today. People who are well versed in the language of the Old Testament, which consistently draws a dotted line between the sin of the nation of Israel and the devastation that came upon them, are wondering if corporate sin has caused the pandemic, wildfires, storms, violence, poverty, injustice, race riots, and all of the other social issues that our world is facing today.
Are we being punished?
Is there a direct connection between the world’s apostasy and our current dilemma?
Where is God in the midst of this?
Let’s take a look at Ezekiel to see if we can gain some insight.
Ezekiel 33 (Contemporary English Version)
10 The Lord said:
Ezekiel, son of man, the people of Israel are complaining that the punishment for their sins is more than they can stand. They have lost all hope for survival, and they blame me.
The people are complaining and blaming God. Mind you, they have walked away from his law and his protection. They have sought after false idols. They have followed ungodly leaders and now they are blaming God for their exile in Babylon.
Is that what is happening now? Do we claim innocence while blaming God for the sins of this world?
What is God doing here?
11 Tell them that as surely as I am the living Lord God, I don’t like to see wicked people die. I enjoy seeing them turn from their sins and live. So if the Israelites want to live, they must stop sinning and turn back to me.
This verse has the answer. God HATES to see any of his children die, including the wicked. God rejoices at each one who repents of their sin. Those who do this will live. Where is God in all of this? God is waiting.
God responds to Ezekiel that if Israel wants to live the people must stop sinning and turn back to him.
What if we truly believed verse 13? What if we could come to a consensus to turn back to God?
From a global perspective we recognize the impossibility of this. From a national perspective we recognize the impossibility of this. From a state/county/town perspective we recognize the impossibility of this. But what about your house? What about your family? Are you able to lead your household to stop sinning and turn back to God? Are YOU able to stop sinning and turn back to God?
God’s promise is true. It is not in his compassionate nature to want us to die. But he will allow the consequences of our actions catch up with us and that is why we are where we are. Is it punishment? Maybe. Are all of these consequences a direct result of our behaviors? Assuredly. God is trying to teach us discipline by allowing things that WE have set in motion to simply unfold. Corporate sin requires corporate correction.
You can’t change the world. You can’t change the town. But you can change you. Turn back to God and live.