Everyday on the street and at the baseball/softball training facility where I give lessons, I see kids and even adults wearing a shirt with the Nike trademarked slogan, "Just Do It". The idea behind this is, to make things happen, to reach our goals, "WE have to do it!".
This is the essence of what I call "The Nike Prophecy" which can be found in Ezekiel 18:1ff. Here the prophet lays out a new process for determining who is righteous and unrighteous.
"But if a man is righteous and practices justice and righteousness,… if he walks in My statutes and My ordinances so as to deal faithfully-he is righteous and will surely live," declares the Lord GOD. (Ezekiel 18:5 & 9)
Then Ezekiel says that if a father does evil he is unrighteous and will die. But if his son, even after observing all the evil acts his father did, does not follow after his father, and does not do likewise, he will not die for his father's iniquity, but will live.
"Now behold, he has a son who has observed all his father's sins which he committed, and observing does not do likewise…he will not die for his father's iniquity, he will surely live. As for his father, because he practiced extortion, robbed his brother and did what was not good among his people, behold, he will die for his iniquity. (Ezekiel 18:14 & 17 & 18)
The prophet Ezekiel's message is simple. It is no longer genetics; It is not your mother, father, family, tribe, nation or where you were born that determines who you are and will be. Rather, it is what you do with what you have that is the determining factor.
Simply put, "It is not your birth, it is your choices that determines who you are and will be".
This simple yet powerful concept opens up options and realities as never before.
- First it eliminates family status. The fact that one may come from a prominent family does not make one righteous.
- Second it prevents the marginalization of those who are not from the right family or neighborhood.
- Third, since it is not about family, blood line or genetics but about the choices one makes, one can not only be different than their family, they can also be different today from what they were yesterday. The righteous man can become unrighteous by his choices. The unrighteous man can become righteous by his choices. And if the unrighteous can become righteous then repentance and forgiveness takes precedence over family, tribe and nation.
"But if the wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed and observes all My statutes and practices justice and righteousness, he shall surely live; he shall not die. All his transgressions which he has committed will not be remembered against him; because of his righteousness which he has practiced, he will live. Do I have any pleasure in the death of the wicked," declares the Lord GOD, "rather than that he should turn from his ways and live?" (Ezekiel 18:21-23)
- Fourth, free choice has been restored. Things are no longer determined by a theocracy, plutocracy, ochlocracy, democracy, aristocracy, but a meritocracy. It is each person's merit that is the determining factor.
- Fifth, responsibility has been restored. One can no longer maintain righteousness based on their status apart from their actions. Now righteousness is determined by ones actions. This makes each person responsible for who they are based on what they do, not who they know or where they come from.
Ezekiel's message frees us from our past. But this is only done through our own actions. Thus, this makes us accountable. Our freedom does not make us less responsible, rather it makes us more responsible for what we do, who we are, and who we become.
Such a simple change that brings a mighty result. We are no longer determined by our birth or our past. We are now liberated. We are now accountable. We are now responsible.
Now we have no one to blame but ourselves.
This is Ezekiel's message. This is Ezekiel's prophecy. This is Ezekiel's Word from the Lord. And once the Lord's Word goes forth it does not come back empty.
"So just do it!"
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