The Struggle With Sin

Ezekiel 20

Jerry A Collins




P    What are the consequences of rebelling against God?

P    What should we do with our rebellion against God?

P    How do we overcome our struggle with this rebellion?


Many of us know how to pretend to submit when in fact we are only agreeing. Few of us know how to cooperate in a spirit of submission. Many know how to rebel. So we can easily yield to an authority in an act of submission without being willing to cooperate. When told you must do this or that, you may obey in a perfunctory manner with no heart attitude to make it work properly like the child who was told to sit down in the back seat and buckle up and while buckling his seatbelt said I am sitting down on the outside but on the inside I am still standing up! Agreement and submission are frequently confused in those relationships in life where one is under the authority of another. This is especially true in our relationship with God. Only you and God know your heart and He will judge you, in part, by the heart attitude you carry into the execution of His requests of you. His people had only agreed with God for generations but refused to submit to him. Eventually the heart attitude revealed itself in outward acts of rebellion. Ezekiel is again visited by the Elders of Israel to see if God had any new word for the nation vs 1. Though their question is not recorded God responds to these Elders thru the prophet by reviewing their past history of rebellion. So God opens His court and presents His evidence to them. Ezekiel was to act as the prosecuting attorney presenting this evidence to the accused people vs 4.


Here God reviews the different periods in Israelís history of Gods preservation of them as a nation in spite of their repeated rebellion.

(1) They rebelled in Egypt 5-9. This section begins with Thus says the Lord God vs 5. That is what we are to say to those rebelling against God not our own opinions or prejudices about it. God sovereignty selected these people vs 5 by revealing Himself to them beginning at the burning bush as a nation! God promised to deliver them from bandage and oppression and take them to a land flowing with milk and honey vs 6. God asked them to be faithful to Him s well by removing all idolatry of Egypt but they had refused and were unwilling vs 7-8. God resolved to judge them but spared them instead because of His name and reputation among the nations was at stake. Instead of giving them judgment which they deserved He delivered themfrom Egypt vs 9. God gives grace and mercy as a work of God not as part of His character. He does not have to be gracious and merciful even though He chooses to do so. God is always just, eternal, love, omniís because that is His character.

(2) They rebelled on the journey from Egypt to promised land 10-17. God did not rescue Israel only to abandon her in the desert but to set her apart as a unique nation with Gods laws and statutes on the books vs 11-12. This first generation rejected, profaned and abandoned this platform and rebelled against Gods rule in the land. Now the people deserved to be annihilated but once again god spared them tho the ones who had sinned were not allowed into the land until they all had died and it took 40 yrs.

(3) They rebelled in the wilderness 18-26. God graciously repeated His opportunity of blessing to the second generation in the wilderness vs 18-20. But they reacted as their parents had violating Godís laws and statutes. Once again they deserved annihilation but God did not destroy them but instead imposed two forms of judgment. First was dispersion vs 23. Just before these had entered the land god commanded obedience for His blessing or they would be scattered among the nations and dissolve as a nation. Second was abandonment vs 26. Godís giving over of the people to sin was His judicial act. Because they had refused to follow His righteous ways God w9ould abandon them to the consequences of their actions. Paul expresssed a similar judgment by God on all unbelievers who willfully reject Godís righteousness Romans 1:24, 26, 28. Sometimes Godís judgments come in the form of letting us have what we want. We†† also get the consequences associated with that as a form of judgment. If you want to keep up with the Jonses and you are willing to live with credit cards and lines of credit to do that, then God says you can have that but you also get the debt and slavery too.

(4) They rebelled when they came into the land of Canaan 27-29. Israels new location in the land of promise did not change her sinful actions. There they continued to offer sacrifices to idols, sacrificed firstborn to idols and blasphemed Godís name in the land. The worship of idols competed with the worship of God making Israelís God look foolish. Israel never recovered from its worship of idols. Idols are images of God we create that fashion God into an image we believe Him to be.

(5) They rebelled during Ezekiels own generation 30-31. Israel was still rebellious just like their ancestors and still practicing idolatry and child sacrifice.God says they have lost the privilege of inquiring of God what they needed to know. They no longer had Godís ear and He would not be a divine quija board to manipulate answers whenever they pleased from him. Some sin is much harder to overcome in our lives than others. Since the beginning of their existence, These people were plagued with idolatry. They never overcame this sin and it eventually destroyed them.

We too have sin in our lives that is just as difficult for us to overcome. This sin is a form of rebellion against God. Our attitude though about this sin is crucial to God. We can either pretend to submit to God when in fact we are only agreeing with him or we can cooperate in a spirit of submission to Him about this sin in our lives. We will struggle with sin until we are finally released by death or by rapture. We must never give up the struggle against sin just because it is a struggle. Our attitude about this sin is key to victory in the daily struggle against it in our lives. The other alternative is to set ourselves against God and continue to invite itís consequences into our lives.

We too are to judge other believers in the sense of letting them know of their past sins if they are unaware or unrepentant of them just as God did with Israel. Rebellion against God in believers lives must never be swept under the rug, ignored by us in the tolerant spirit of our age. God never does that with His people and has commanded the church to fulfill this responsibility to one another (James 5; 1 John 5).††††