Collect for Grace:
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us safely to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Collect for Purity:
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we might perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Read: Ezekiel 18:5-18 and Psalm 25:1-9
The prophet Ezekiel was a contemporary of Jeremiah and Daniel, and was among the first 3,000 Jews to be exiled to Babylon. Tradition holds that he was the one that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego came to in order to ask what to do about Nebucchadnezzer’s order to worship the golden idol (Daniel 3).
God wants us to live righteously. He wants us to treat others with respect and love. He wants us to avoid evil, and to do good. Ezekiel prophesies that if we will do these things, we will find life. On the other hand, if we live a life of evil, harming others, living from selfishness instead of love, doing evil things to each other, we will not find life, but death. Further, if a father is evil but his son is righteous, the son will find life, but his father will not. This is significant because of the Jewish idea that the sins of the father are visited out on his children as far as three or four generations (Exodus 20:4, et. al.).
Do you live righteously? Or do you live selfishly? T ake some time to think about this. Ask God to help you live right before him. Ask him to show you where you’ve failed. You may find the following prayer helpful:
Merciful God, you have commanded us in your word to follow your commands and to live at peace with you and with one another: Grant us grace that we might live righteously before you, so that we might find life and peace instead of death and turmoil; through Christ our Lord. Amen.