“Though Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness.”
Several times in Ezekiel 14, God said that if Noah, Daniel, and Job, were living when the judgment came upon Israel that He would only save these men alive and not anyone else. God was trying to drive home a point that every person is responsible for their own actions. This is why God said, “…they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness.” God knew that the problem with Israel was that they were living on what He had done through the men of the past, and they were justifying their sinful lifestyle by living on the righteousness of the past.
I not only grew up in a Christian home, but I also grew up in a preacher’s home. One of the things that I had to come to grips with at an early age, and my mother was helpful in teaching me this, was that it didn’t matter who my parents were, the only thing that mattered was how I lived my life. My mother made it clear that I was not going to go to Heaven because my parents were saved, but I would go to Heaven because I had accepted Christ as my Saviour. She made it clear that God was not going to bless me because of my parents’ righteousness, but that God would hold me accountable for how I lived. My friend, what my mother taught me and the point that God was driving home from the verse above applies to your life. Let me give you a few thoughts about not living on the righteousness of the past.
First, it’s not the previous generation’s fault that you are what you are. You may be born into sin, but you are responsible for your own actions. You don’t do wrong because your parents do wrong; you do wrong because you choose to do wrong. At some point in your life, you will have to come to grips that you have become who you are because of your choices.
Second, you can’t live on the works of those before you. Just because you grew up in a Christian home or go to a good church doesn’t fill your life with righteousness. You are filled with righteous works because you do righteous works. Too many believers are living on the blessings from the works of past generations. One day those blessings are going to dry up because you have done nothing to cause God to bless you in the future. You must never forget that today’s blessings are a result of yesterday’s actions, and tomorrow’s blessings or lack thereof are a result of today’s actions. If you want God to bless your tomorrow, you had better get busy serving God today.
Third, your surroundings are not an excuse for your actions. God used Noah, Daniel, and Job as illustrations because each of these men did right in spite of their surroundings. You must choose to do right. You cannot allow your surroundings to be the cause of what you do. If you are doing right only because everyone around you is doing right, you will one day do wrong when you happen to be in a place where everyone is doing wrong.
My friend, never forget that God holds you accountable for your actions. Romans 14:12 says, “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” Let me encourage you to take responsibility now for what you do and be sure to do right. Don’t rely on your history as your only source of righteousness; rather, make history today by doing right.