The Lord asked Ezekiel a question concerning the prophet’s own faithfulness to continue with the difficult task that he had been given. “And you, son of man, will you judge, will you judge the bloody city?” Would Ezekiel declare to Jerusalem “all her abominations?”
Jehovah went on to list a great variety of sins covering all of the breadth of the Ten Commandments. Concerning their relationship with God and with fellow human beings, the Lord said, “You have become guilty by the blood that you have shed, and defiled by the idols that you have made.” They would suffer great difficulties and would soon be “a mockery to all the countries” where they would be scattered.
God had a purpose in the events that would take place over the many years that would follow. “I will consume your uncleanness out of you.” The people of the Almighty were in great need of spiritual refinement. Prophets and kings had not been faithful to the Word of the Lord. Elders had behaved like “wolves tearing the prey, shedding blood, destroying lives to get dishonest gain.” Those who should have had the discernment to bring the Lord’s lawsuit against the people of the covenant were unwilling to do their job. “Her prophets have smeared whitewash” for the rich and powerful, pretending that a new coat of paint could cover over all the sins of those who were “princes” in the Promised Land.
God “sought for a man among them who should build up the wall” around the holy city and aid the righteous in living in a way that would be different from their wicked neighbors. The Lord looked in vain for one man who would “stand in the breach before Me for the land, that I should not destroy it.” Was there anyone who could bear the awful load of guilt that was upon the people? God’s conclusion: “I found none.”
We who live after the death and resurrection of our righteous Savior can greatly rejoice that one qualified Son of David stood “in the breach” between God and His chosen ones. It is now our privilege to rejoice in the Lord and to obey God’s perfect Word by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Lord God, how are we to judge? There are abominations all around us, and trouble is very near. You must cast out the filth that is in us, so that we can speak for you with boldness. Surely we will always need the mercy that You have shown us. We have pursued all kinds of uncleanness. We are at the forefront of a great company of sinners. If we have any strength left, it must be from You. You are the Lord. Purify us, O God. Your Son went through the furnace of Your judgment for us. Teach us to love Your true Word, and to stop our ears against false prophets.