27 March 2020

I don’t consider myself a prophet but one who reads the prophets, for all scripture is inspired by God and of profit for us. Ezekiel was a prophet, at the time of the exile: after the fall of Judah and Israel, and when many abandoned their family, tribe and faith in defeat.

The sins that are offending the prophet are violence, intimidation and usury. Yes, the prophet sees charging interest as theft, and a grave offense against the laws of God and man.

Ezekiel 33:10-16

10 “Now as for you, son of man, say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus you have spoken, saying, “Surely our transgressions and our sins are upon us, and we are rotting away in them; how then can we survive?”’ 11 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 from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways! Why then will you die, O house of Israel?’ 12 And you, son of man, say to your fellow citizens, ‘The righteousness of a righteous man will not deliver him in the day of his transgression, and as for the wickedness of the wicked, he will not stumble because of it in the day when he turns from his wickedness; whereas a righteous man will not be able to live by his righteousness on the day when he commits sin.’ 13 When I say to the righteous he will surely live, and he so trusts in his righteousness that he commits iniquity, none of his righteous deeds will be remembered; but in that same iniquity of his which he has committed he will die. 14 But when I say to the wicked, ‘You will surely die,’ and he turns from his sin and practices justice and righteousness, 15 if a wicked man restores a pledge, pays back what he has taken by robbery, walks by the statutes which ensure life without committing iniquity, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 16 None of his sins that he has committed will be remembered against him. He has practiced justice and righteousness; he shall surely live.

What we need to do at this time is own our faults, and change so we don’t do them. This may mean getting debt down. It may mean changing how we see others, not as economic units for exploitation, but as made in the image of God. For God wishes that we all become his children, but our own sins stop us from doing this. Woe betide those who call those who owe money that was promised to them on easy terms that they cannot repay now the terms are hard evil: it is the lender who trapped them. And woe betide a nation that prices the necessities of live beyond the reach of the honest worker.

It is not Ezekiel’s Isreal in exile that needs to repent: their time has gone. It is us.