LAIN and simple: God is unhappy when we force His hand and He has to punish us for our wickedness (Ezekiel 18:23 & 32). God does not enjoy dishing out death and destruction. I'm not saying He won't do it. He most certainly will. He has done it for thousands of years and is doing it even now. But He doesn't want to do it. He doesn't relish it (2nd Peter 3:9). God smiles when we get it right. God is thrilled when we let go of our sin and embrace Him. God is pleased when men repent of their sin and trust Him to guide them.
Now, in the last chapter we read of a parable that God used to describe the foolishness of Zedekiah and his devotees. In this chapter we find a smaller parable that was being used by the Jews to reassure each other concerning their future. The riddle went like this, "The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge?" This was intended to mean that the Jews would surely enjoy perpetual success and peace just because they had good ancestors. In other words, since they had men like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, David and Solomon as their "founding fathers," then God was obligated to treat them gently forever. They expected to reap a harvest of blessings just from the seeds that were planted by their progenitors. They were gravely mistaken.
The majority of this chapter is devoted to emphasizing personal responsibility. To put it the way God said it, "The soul that sins, it shall die" (Ezekiel 18:4 & 20). That's not all though. Sinful unbelief brings death, obedient faith brings life – regardless of pedigree.