Sermon Info:

Responsive Reading:  Ezekiel 18:19-30
Key Verse(s): Ezekiel 18:25
Background Scripture:  Malachi 3:8-18

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I encouraged all of you last week that when life seems unfair, you should lean on the Lord because God, having all power and authority, will make crooked places straight (Is. 45:16).  Yet, someone will think or ask, “why should I lean on God?  What will He do for me?”  There is this idea that as life is unfair, God is also unfair; the richer get richer (are blessed) while we, who always go to church and pray to God, remain poor (not blessed).  So, is God unfair?  Today, you will see that God is more than fair.

God Is More Than Fair

In our key verse for today, we will see that God says that His way is fair. Let us dive into the concept of God and fairness in our message this week.

25 “Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not fair.’ Hear now, O house of Israel, is it not My way which is fair, and your ways which are not fair?


God’s way is fair

Let’s first define what it means to be fair.  The dictionary defines being fair as:  to be marked by impartiality and honesty; free from self-interest, prejudice, or favoritism.

By this definition, scripture would testify to the Lord being fair in His judgments and in the way that He moves.  In his letter to the Romans, Paul wrote that there is no respect of persons with God – there is no partiality with the Lord (Rom. 2:11).  Is this true?  No matter who you are in life, the Lord offers to you the same opportunity that He offers to everybody else!

Jesus testified to the fairness of our Father when He said that our Father in heaven makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust (Matt. 5:45).  So, no matter who you are, the Lord has granted each of us the blessing of life.  Sadly, many of us think little of being able to see the rising of the sun and for the earth to be routinely watered – we do not cherish (value) life enough, to me.

So, is God fair?  Scripture testifies to the Lord moving without prejudice and offering the same opportunity to all.  Again, God says it Himself – My way is fair!  So, who are we to argue and say otherwise?

The idea that says otherwise

Yet, after hearing this, many people would still hold to the opinion that the Lord is unfair in His judgments and in His ways.  This perspective typically comes from a heart that is filled with jealousy over what others have received while not taking a moment to appreciate what the Lord has given to them.

The parable of talents comes to mind when I think about this perspective of unfairness.  In the parable of talents, a boss gave to his servants talents – a large sum of money (Matt. 25:14-30).  To one of his servants, the boss gave five talents; to another, the boss gave two talents; lastly, the boss gave to another servant one talent.  Now, each servant was to use what had been given to them by their boss.

Two out of the three went on to use what their boss had given to them and they increased what they had received.  However, the servant that received one talent chose to do nothing with what they had received.  I imagine that this servant sat and watched as the other two profited, while he grumbled and complained that the boss did not give him enough to work with.

Some will sympathize with this servant as they will say that it was unfair that the boss gave an unequal amount to them.  Yet, I would point to the servant that received two talents but still did something with what he had received!  Yes, the boss gave different amounts to the servants, but in fairness, he gave whatever he had to all of them to use.  So, who was being unfair?  The one that chose not to use what his boss had given to him while the other two went to work.

God moves righteously

The parable of talents can be likened to how the Lord pours out His gifts (blessings) onto all of us.  In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul wrote about God pouring out His gifts and how there are diversities of gifts from the Lord (1 Cor. 12:4-31).  One, Paul said, receives the word of wisdom and another receives the word of knowledge; one receives gifts of healing while another receives the gift of prophecy.

Is there a gift greater than another?  I am able to preach and another is able to sing – should I view my gift of teaching and preaching as being higher than the one that can stir up the soul through song?  Absolutely not.  Now, the jealous and covetous heart would certainly think otherwise but our heart, as genuine believers, cannot be that way.  As Paul stated, the Lord pours out His blessings as He desires for the sole purpose of their being profit (growth) of all people.

As genuine believers, we must understand that the Lord moves and gives as He pleases according to His will and not that of our own.  The Lord’s will is for all people to grow.  With God’s will in mind, we must remember that God is both sovereign and righteous – He is all powerful and perfect in His way.  What this means for us is that God is more than fair!

When I say that God is more than fair, I want you to understand that God is more than fair because He is faithful to keep His way and word!  God will not fail to keep His way.  So, again I ask, who are we to question the Lord in His judgments and in His way?  How can we dare say that God is not fair?

Accusing God of Being Unfair

In our key verse, we will see that this lack of understanding when it comes to the fairness of God was an issue that the Jews share with many living in our world today.  We will see in our key verse that the Jews had accused God of not being fair in His judgments.

The Jews question the way of God

What was the Lord doing that seemed unfair to the Jews?  When we look at this passage of scripture from the book of Ezekiel, we will see that the Lord spoke against a saying (a proverb) that the Jews had come up with.  I referenced this saying in a sermon I preached a few months ago that said, “The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge – has the sour taste (Ezek. 18:2).”

In essence, the proverb spoke of an idea that the children would pay for what one’s parents had done.  During the days of Jesus, you may recall that some of the disciples believed a man born blind was born that way because of the sins of his parents (John 9:1-3).  There are some today that believe in the concept of generational sin – sin that has been passed down like its genetics.

The Lord, however, spoke against this concept through the prophet.  God said that the soul who sins shall be the one to die (Ezek. 18:20); should a wicked person turn from their sins and keep His way, they would be forgiven (Ezek. 18:21-22).  On the other hand, those that may have once been righteous but chose to live in wickedness, the Lord said, they would not live (Ezek. 18:24).

So, what was it that upset the Jews and caused them to accuse God of not being fair on this matter?  I believe the accusers looked and saw that some were blessed who, in their eyes, should not be blessed. The accusers were frustrated with God’s way of grace and mercy.  They asked, “Why should the son not bear the guilt of the father (Ezek. 18:19)?”

You know, this reminds me of how some of us get upset when we see someone wearing a new outfit or driving a new car; we get upset at them being blessed while believing we are not as blessed by the Lord.  The truth of the matter is that the jealous mindset is one that is foolish and will only hinder you rather than do anything to help you!  You will certainly not be blessed by God living with a jealous heart that is constantly accusing God of not being fair.

Further Examination

In our key verse, we will see that through Ezekiel, God asked the Jews, “Is it not My way which is fair, and your ways which are not fair?”  This was God saying that He is more than fair – that He is faithful to keep His way.  However, God questions how we can charge Him in being unfair when our way is not fair.

I want to point out that this was not an accusation from the Lord as accusations can be made without necessarily having proof.  No, the Lord was speaking matter-of-factly when He stated that the way of the Jews, and even us today, was not fair.  So, what would lead God to making this statement?

Now, if we are going to accuse the Lord, who is perfect, of not being fair in His way, then we ourselves better be perfect!  To accuse God of not being fair is to essentially accuse God of not being faithful.  So, we must first examine if the Lord is going against Himself – is He unfaithful.  Secondly, we must then examine our own faith – are we faithful to Him and are we faithful to ourselves?  Are you perfect?

God faithful to forgive

Now, we have already done some examining of God and His fairness but when we look further more into scripture, we will see even more that God is more than fair – He is faithful and just.

God declares His love for mankind through His actions.  For all of mankind, let us consider that God created this world – all that is known and unknown.  Then, when mankind fell into sin in the garden, the Lord showed mankind mercy and gave us opportunity after opportunity to continue to move about and live in this world (Gen. 3:22-23).  Even when He desired to destroy the world, God was faithful to His way of mercy as He chose to give mankind another chance (Gen. 8:20-22; 9:12-17).

After this mercy, when mankind continued to live in sin, I tell you that the Lord remained faithful to His way.  God showed His love and faith for mankind by giving to us His only begotten Son who then became mankind’s propitiation (John 3:16; Rom. 5:8)!  Again, we see, God gives to all people the same opportunity to live – that is to physically live in this world but He has also given us the opportunity to spiritually live in the eternal world to come.

Yet, some will still accuse God of not being fair.  How is God being unfair?  Has the Lord gone against His way of love?  Has the Lord gone against His way of grace – showing mercy and forgiveness to us?  We know that all are forgiven and are shown mercy if they believe in the only begotten Son!  The only one who is not shown such grace is the one that blasphemes the Holy Spirit – this one speaks against the work of God (Matt. 12:31-32).  Is this what is unfair about the Lord – His grace?

God faithful to give

God is more than fair – He is faithful and just and is willing to give of Himself.  As we know, the Lord declared that He will bless and give to us according to His will so that He may be glorified (John 14:12-14).  Has the Lord gone against His promise of being a giving God?  Absolutely not!

Christ declared that if we ask anything in His name, He will do it!  Again, unfortunately the error that many of us run into is that we fall incredibly short in recognizing God’s blessings.  As I said earlier, many of us don’t view being able to see the light of another day as a blessing.  It also seems that many of us don’t view being able to see our loved ones as another blessing; it is not until we suffer some form of loss that we realize how blessed we were.  Why must it come to that?

At the very same time, while many of us are grumbling about the new clothes others are wearing, some of us forget that we probably just bought some new clothes ourselves not that long ago.  While many of us are grumbling about the new car someone may be driving, we forget our car is still running and that maybe that person’s car had stopped running.  Yet, we say that God is unfair.

Let me tell you something, the Lord supplies our every need (Phil. 4:19)!  God supplies our every need so that we do not have to worry about what we will eat, wear, or drink (Luke 12:22-28)!  Yet, some of us are too carried away with our wants to add to our riches rather than understand how great a blessing it is for the Lord to be taken care of our every need.

The blame of us not recognizing all that the Lord has done and is doing for us falls at our feet and not at the feet of God.  How can we say that God is not fair when God is more than fair – He is faithful to stand by us and guide us, shield and protect us, and supply our every need.  God is faith and just to keep His word and way.

The unfaithfulness of man

In the book of Malachi, the Lord had a question for the Jews.  God asked, “Will a man rob God (Mal. 3:8)?”  I used to hear that question when I was little and I would think to myself, ‘how could a man rob God?’  I suppose that back then, I did not know any better.

The truth of the matter is that we rob God in several ways; all of which can be summed up to the fact that we aren’t nearly as faithful as we ought to be as a people.  In that same verse from Malachi, the Lord said that the Jews robbed Him in tithes and offerings.  Before someone goes thinking that the pastor is about to start begging for money, let me explain what is meant here by the Lord.

We should understand that tithes were voluntarily given in order to help with the upkeep of the tabernacle during Israel’s wilderness years and for the upkeep of the temple.  Not only were the tithes given to help with the upkeep of these structures but they were also given to care for the Levites and priests that served daily in the temple.  Tithes were also given to help care for the poor.

The idea behind the giving of tithes was that God gave to the people liberally and the people should be willing to give just a tenth to help upkeep and uplift each other!  So, the Jews robbed God in their service to Him.  You see, they stopped having faith in God – they stopped worshiping, and stopped helping one another.

Do we rob God today in our service to Him?  Let us remember the great commandments that Christ spoke of to us:  we are to love the Lord our God with our whole heart and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves (Matt. 22:36-40).  Are we faithfully loving the Lord with our whole heart today?

To answer that question, we must answer whether or not we are faithfully looking after and helping one another.  We are robbing God today if we are not acting out of our faith in Him!  Is this our idea of being fair?

Speaking against God

God then pointed out that the Jews would speak harshly against Him (Mal. 3:13).  At that time, the Jews would say to one another that it was useless to serve the Lord.  They would even ask, “What profit is it that we have kept His (God’s) ordinance (Mal. 3:14)?”  Imagine thinking that it is useless or no profit to serve the Lord when all He does is bless you.  Is this our idea of being fair?

Sadly there are many people today that question why they should have faith in God.  Many ask why they should even pray to the Lord?  They conclude their thoughts with another question:  what good comes from believing in God?  Yet, all God does is pour His love onto the world – He guides, shields, and protects.  Is this our idea of being fair – to question and accuse the Lord of being unfair when He is not?

He is Faithful

Another day comes and another day goes – God gives us another day and another opportunity.  God is more than fair, He is faithful.  Our failure to uphold our end of being faithful is what is not fair.  As believers, we must do a better job in upholding our end of our fellowship (relationship) with the Lord.  We desire that the Lord continually give and give and give, yet we will give little to nothing of ourselves in return; just like that one servant that received one talent from his boss.

What does the Lord desire from us?  All that the Lord desires from us is for us to be faithful to Him – this is what is fair!  God desires for us to love Him with our whole heart – to put Him and His way first.  I encourage you today to be of faith and to put the Lord first because He does the same for you – this is what is fair!

We desire that the Lord continually give and give and give of Himself, but will you properly use what God has given to you?  Will you give of yourself to those around you?  I encourage you today to do right by the Lord by properly using what God has given to you – this is what is fair.  We must be willing to lift a finger and put our faith to work!

I believe that sometimes we have not received because sometimes we are not actually putting our faith into action.  Why should we receive anything from God if we are not going to use it?  We who are of genuine faith, must learn how to be more than fair – we must learn to be genuine to our calling (our faith).  If we desire for the Lord to be fair and faithful to us, we must learn to be fair and faithful to Him and His word.


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