God Has No Pleasure in the Sinner's Death

Text.-- Ezek. 18:23, 32 : " Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God: and not that he should return from his way and live? For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore, turn yourselves, and live ye ." 
  
Text.-- Ezek. 33:11 : " Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil way, for why will ye die, O house of Israel? "

In speaking upon these texts, I am to show,

I. What this death is not; 
  
II. What it is; 
  
III. Why God has no pleasure in it; 
  
IV. Why He does not prevent it; 
  
V. The only way in which He can prevent it.

I. What this death is not.

1. The death spoken of in our texts cannot be that of the body. "It is appointed to all men once to die, and after this the judgment." I need not say that men die a physical death none the less surely because they turn to God and live. 
  
2. This cannot mean spiritual death either, for this death is nothing else than a sinful state of mind -- a fixed habit and condition of sinning. If this had been the sense of the term death in these passages, they should have read --Why are ye already dead! -- not, Why will ye die? The death referred to is manifestly an event yet future.

II. What it is. 
  
Positively, this death must be the opposite of that life which they would have if they would turn from their evil ways. Throughout the Bible we are given to understand that this is eternal life -- life in the sense of real blessedness. By the terms, death, and life, when used of the final rewards of the wicked and of the righteous, the Bible does not mean annihilation and existence. It does not teach that one class shall cease to exist and the other shall simply continue to exist; but most obviously implies that both alike have an immortal existence, which existence, however, is, in the one case, infinite misery; in the other, infinite blessedness.

III. Why God has no pleasure in it. 

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Hell: Eternal Death

The Bible is very explicit that there will be two places a human being can go after death. It is easy to talk about eternal life (heaven - paradise) and so hard to talk and think about eternal death (hell). We like to talk and think about issues that produce pleasant emotions. For instance, for most of us it is hard to discipline others since we have to endure some unpleasant emotions. Some people would rather let themselves and others do things that they know will lead to bad results, rather than endure the unpleasant emotions that confrontation usually generates. To ignore the following definitions of eternal death, simply because we don't like the feelings that accompany them, displays an incredible lack of regard for our own welfare and the welfare of those we love.

Many people don't understand why a loving God would allow people to endure the horrors of eternal death. All energy comes from God. This includes the energy and resourcefulness that a honey bee needs to collect and store honey. It includes the energy to run a wristwatch. It includes the energy that a human needs to function each day. We do not really recognize this need for God's energy to live and function. Many times we don't want to recognize this need.

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Can These Bones Live?

I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, "Son of man, can these bones live?" Ezekiel 37:2-3 (NIV) 

The dry and brittle bones on the floor of the valley were void of life. The pungent smell of death permeated the air. These dead bones symbolized the entire house of Israel. In Ezekiel 37:11 they say, “Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.”

There was a time when I was drained of all hope and deeply depressed. Newly divorced, I was a single parent and finances were scarce. I sank down so low emotionally, it felt as though my bones were laying at the bottom of a dark valley. Have you ever experienced dryness in your bones? Do you know what it is like to have your hope vanish like a vapor?

When the dry bones heard the word of the LORD they came together bone to bone. One could almost hear the dry bones snapping together as they took shape. Tendons and flesh appeared and then skin covered them. After that, the breath of life entered them. The words of God brought a whole valley of bones to life, just like His Word gave me vitality when I was laying lifeless on the valley floor. He will breathe life into your parched bones and hope into your weary body, as well. Hear the word of the LORD today and breathe in the life force of the living God.

Heavenly Father, may we have ears to hear Your Word that we may be full of life and hope. Amen.