The Lord’s message to His people through the prophet Ezekiel was full of uncompromising wrath against their evil ways. God shouted in the prophet’s ears with a loud voice concerning the impending doom of Jerusalem. “Bring near the executioners of the city, each with his destroying weapon in his hand.” Ezekiel saw six mighty men with swords and one additional servant “with a writing case at his waist.” This scribal figure was instructed to “put a mark on the foreheads” of those who would be spared from the six destroyers who would soon be sent forth by the Almighty as agents of His justice.
What would be the defining characteristic of those who would be spared? They were the ones who “sigh and groan over all the abominations” that filled Jerusalem. The transgressions referred to by the word “abominations” included the idolatry and violence described in the previous chapter. Those who mourned such degradation among the covenant people of the Lord of Hosts were the only human beings who would be spared. All others, including young and old, men and women, and even little children would be suddenly killed.
What was Ezekiel’s immediate reaction to the horrors that he saw? He fell down on his face and cried out, “Ah, Lord God! Will you destroy all the remnant of Israel in the outpouring of your wrath on Jerusalem?”
We might expect that the Lord would comfort the prophet at this difficult moment. Not at all. God reinforced the truth of the city’s guilt. “The land is full of blood, and the city full of injustice.” Therefore God would not alter His course. “My eye will not spare, nor will I have pity; I will bring their deeds upon their heads.”
As we encounter passages such as this in God’s Word, we are reminded of how frightening it would be if we were to present ourselves before the Lord based on our own record of obedience to His commandments. As another prophetic text warns us, “But who can endure the day of His coming, and who can stand when He appears?” (Malachi 3:2)
The only way for any of us to live in this very fallen world with a healthy confidence is to remember the flawless record of the Savior who died for us on the cross. We are further consoled by the good words of Jesus when His own disciples wondered how anyone could ever be saved. “With God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Lord God, the Day of Judgment will surely come. Even before that Day, we see signs of Your judgment against all that is evil. Father, we sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in Your church. We long for the purity of Your Kingdom. Yet we also have sin within us. Please pardon. The guilt of Your church is exceedingly great. We know that You have not forgotten us. You see us and You know Your children. Please have mercy on us, according to Your righteousness and grace.