“So you, son of man, I have made a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. If I say to the wicked, O wicked one, you shall surely die, and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from his way, that wicked person shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, that person shall die in his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul.” (Ezekiel 33:7-9)

The words the Lord spoke through Ezekiel the prophet regarding the watchman indicate that He cannot be labeled as unjust or unfair for carrying out His judgment on Jerusalem or on anyone else for that matter. The Lord had extended mercy to the people of Jerusalem many times. He had sent several warnings to those living in Judah and in exile in Babylon. They had been warned repeatedly of the dire consequences of their sinfulness. They had been called to repentance. Nevertheless, they ignored all these warnings and continued to live in idolatry and self-indulgence. As a result, they brought doom and destruction upon their own heads.

What we learn in this passage is that all people are to blame for their own sins and what results from them. Consequences in the form of material loss, broken families, injury, sickness, and death often times are the result of personal sin. Sometimes people blame others as if they themselves had no culpability at all or they have decided that someone is to blame for all their misfortunes, a view that appears to be popular these days with the strident denunciations of systemic racism. Racism is not the issue: sin is. We can respond by blaming others, attacking them and demanding vengeance, or admitting that we are all sinners in need of a Savior. 

Many times people blame God for their punishment as if it were undeserved. While it is true that suffering is not always the result of personal sin, all suffering is, ultimately, attributable to sin, the sin in the world as a result of the disobedience of Adam and Eve. Yet , by the mercy of God all suffering can lead any sinner to Him.