Scripture Text:(click to open in a new window or tab)
1. What quotable quote or favorite saying do (or did) your parents live by? What did it mean?
2. If your philosophy of life were likewise summed up in a favorite slogan or saying of yours, what would that be? What do you like about it?
3. In what two ways (proverbial or otherwise) are you like, and unlike, your dad or mom?
4. What was the original meaning of this (still popular) saying about “eating sour grapes” and “setting your teeth on edge”? Why do you suppose that saying was so popular in Israel (see Jeremiah 31:29)?
5. How does this saying compare or contrast to an earlier one, “like mother, like daughter” (Ezekiel 16:44)?
6. How might it relate to the people whose way of thinking is expressed in chapter 14?
7. What false ideas put forth in this three-generation pattern does the Lord oppose with divine oath (verses 3 and 4)?
8. What alternative standard for judgment does the Sovereign Lord swear by? (Note: “Soul”, as used here, connotes “life” or “person”, not something distinct from the body.)
9. What point does listing both the deeds of the righteous and the wicked affirm? What point does it refute? Would a different listing of actions God rewards and punishes accomplish the same purpose? Why do you think so?
10. In the lists given here, what is particularly germane to the thrust of Ezekiel’s prophecy so far?
11. What guilt does God want each party to assume? Why? What action does God want each party to take? Why?
12. To what criticism is this principle of judgment susceptible (verses 25 – 29)? How does God remain just in forgiving sinners who repent? Instead, who is truly “unjust”? (Is God in the dock, having to defend Himself and His just standards? Or are you?)
13. How do you think God feels when someone dies in his or her sins?
14. Does it seem unfair to you that God would pardon those who have been wicked all their lives? Why or why not? How did Jesus speak to this question of “eleventh hour” conversions (see Matthew 20:1 – 16)? How did Jesus speak to the question of inherited guilt (see John 9)?
15. If your good and bad works were weighed in the balance, which way would the scales tip? How did such weights and measures miss the point of this extended parable? Are sins and good deeds even quantifiable? Is not the one who is forgiven much able to love much, as in Luke 7:36 – 50?
16. How does Ezekiel 18 square with Joshua 7 or Romans 5? That is, if Ezekiel’s point about individual accountability is true, then how come all Israel suffered for Achan’s sin? And how come all humanity is guilty for Adam’s sin?
17. Is repentance hard or easy for you? Why? What can you think of now for which you should repent?