At the very beginning of the Babylonian siege against Jerusalem, the Lord spoke to His exiles about the horrible fate that would soon befall the holy city. God revealed the very bad spiritual condition of His people with a parable about cooking food. A stew was simmering in God’s city that would not be edible. The pot that was boiling away was simply not usable any longer. “Its abundant corrosion does not go out of it” despite the Lord’s considerable work to “cleanse” it over many centuries.
What was it that made Jerusalem so unworthy? It was their “unclean lewdness” including their spiritual unfaithfulness to the Lord. There was no remaining hope of any quick fix. “You shall not be cleansed anymore till I have satisfied My fury upon you.” God’s Word through Ezekiel was absolutely sure. “I will not relent; according to your ways and your deeds you will be judged.”
Those who survived the destruction of the city would not even know how to voice their sadness. Ezekiel modeled their future emotional trauma by facing an immediate personal crisis. The Almighty suddenly took his wife away and he had to restrain the normal expressions of his grief. The Lord’s ambassador would be a living prophecy of the eventual fate of the exiles. They would hear about the loss of the Lord’s sanctuary on Mt. Zion, but they would scarcely be able to react.
“You shall not mourn or weep, but you shall rot away in your iniquities and groan to one another.” Ezekiel’s wife died on the very evening when God gave this message through her husband. The prophet’s strange quietness at the loss of his beloved companion was “a sign” of what would happen to the exiles when an unnamed fugitive from Jerusalem would bring them the sad report of what had become of their beloved place of worship. Living under the authority of their captors in a foreign land, they would be forced to restrain their feelings.
The sad destruction of the capital city of the Promised Land will one day be dwarfed by the arrival of a worldwide Day of Judgment. As we wait for the return of the Lord we mourn the corruptions that we see in the church. When so many have rejected historic Christian fellowship, ethics, and doctrine, it is right for the faithful to feel deep sadness. Yet we are assured that God is in charge of the fulfillment of His kingdom promises.
Jesus shall reign over a renewed heaven and earth. All of the elect of God shall be with Him. We who have faith in Christ shall live forever without any remaining corruptions. We do not know when our time here in this world of sorrow will be over. Until the coming of our victorious King we must strengthen our hearts with this memorable instruction: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4)
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Almighty God, You are the Lord of the church and the Lord of our lives. Your Word has come to us. Each day has a special purpose according to Your eternal plan. Nothing is without some good cause and some holy intention. You will purify Your church. This is what we seek, but who can bear the trials that are so near to us? You will cleanse us from our uncleanness. You are utterly committed to what is right. O Lord, thank You for the blessings of marriage and family. How will we stand if we lose those we love? Even so, You are the everlasting God. Father, we cling to Your promises, though we do mourn in the depths of our hearts. There is surely a better day coming.