Ezekiel 20:21b-26 (JDV)
So I considered pouring out my wrath on them and exhausting my anger against them in the open country.
Ezekiel 20:22 But I withheld my hand and acted for the sake of my name so that it would not be polluted in the eyes of the nations in whose sight I brought them out.
Ezekiel 20:23 However, I swore to them in the open country that I would disperse them among the nations and scatter them among the countries.
Ezekiel 20:24 You see, they did not practice my rules but rejected my prescriptions and polluted my Sabbaths, and their eyes were fixed on their fathers’ idols.
Ezekiel 20:25 I also gave them prescriptions that were not good and rules they could not live by.
Ezekiel 20:26 When they sacrificed every firstborn in the fire, I defiled them through their gifts in order to devastate them so they would know that I am Yahveh.’
Is Ezekiel saying in verse 25 that God slipped some inappropriate prescriptions into his holy laws? Nope. He’s talking about the human traditions that emerged in Judaism. Idolatry had become commonplace among his people. Verse 26 refers to one of those inappropriate prescriptions. God never commanded child sacrifice. But since Ezekiel’s people had rejected his law, God gave them over to inappropriate prescriptions like this.
Occasionally on the news, I hear of doctors who lose their license to practice because they make money feeding addiction rather than addressing real medical problems. The same thing happens in religion. If people don’t want to do what God wants, they become susceptible to self-destructive traditions.
Jesus taught that many follow the path to self-destruction and that only a few follow the path to life. Being a religious person is not enough. Religion itself is not the answer. Too many religious leaders are engaged in malpractice.
LORD, show us how to root out the inappropriate prescriptions our culture has accepted that keep us from following Christ.