There is a pretty intense metaphor for what the people have done here. I mean intense. And a very nice accusation that Sodom had nothing on them (Sodom’s sin was: “pride… did not aid the poor…” so… injustice and oppression. Not that other thing). But it’s chapter 18 I want to focus on.
Personal responsibility. The soul that sins shall die. The soul that is righteous shall live. The father shall not die for his son, the son shall not die for his father. Everyone is responsible for their own behavior, their education notwithstanding.
That’s the first thing that I notice, honestly. The son isn’t excused for sinning just because his father was sinful and he never knew any better. The soul that sins shall die.
The second thing that stands out is the beauty of the line: Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked and not rather that he should turn from his .way and live?
God doesn’t enjoy judgment. He doesn’t want to punish anyone. He says over and over throughout Ezekiel “And you shall know I am the Lord.” Everything he is doing is to make the point that he is exactly who he says he is, to fulfill the covenant (you obey, I protect and prosper you; you don’t obey, I stop prospering and protecting you), and because they have been guilty of all the things God abhors the most: injustice and child sacrifice.
I really hope we can all agree that gross injustice, exploitation of the vulnerable, and child sacrifice deserve a factory reset on the culture as a whole.
(… let just… hang on… we haven’t started literally sacrificing children to Molech, yet, have we?)
He also says that anyone who turns from their wickedness no longer has to die from it. You can leave all that behind. Isn’t that good news? You can absolutely deserve judgment, and all you have to do to escape it is: start doing better. (Yes, we understand that you can’t actually succeed in doing better without the help of the Spirit through the work of the Son, but all of that is to come in the new covenant. The point is the same. You determine in your heart to do what is right, to serve God, and all that it means, and you are granted life.)