Focal passage: Ezekiel 24:1-14
Passages describing God’s judgement, like in Ezekiel 24:1-14, are difficult to read. Not only because they can be hard to understand but because they reveal a side of God which western Christians find uncomfortable. Like a harsh reflection from the sun that makes us look away, judgement passages make us want to turn elsewhere.
In some sense, seeing God’s wrath on display should make us uncomfortable. No one who sees lightning strike up close expects to feel joyful and elated. When we see how God treats sin, disobedience and pride, it should make us shudder.
Here’s the point to remember: God takes sin seriously.
God sees the destructive nature of human evil and disobedience. Like cancer in the body, God will do whatever is necessary to remove it.
In the context of Ezekiel 24, what was Israel’s sin? The Lord says, “Woe to the city of bloodshed, the pot that has corrosion inside it, and its corrosion has not come out of it!” (v. 6).
Jerusalem had become a violent place and the laws of God had been utterly disregarded. The southern kingdom of Judah had rejected the prophets’ continual calls for repentance and now the time for judgement had come. In 586 B.C. the Babylonians would capture Jerusalem and lead their people into exile.
We may feel like our shortcomings pale in comparison to anything committed by the Israelites but that doesn’t mean God takes our sin any less seriously. Our actions have consequences and God is responsible for dealing with it all.
Yet, understanding this side of God actually magnifies His love. When you think about the lengths the Lord will go to punish sin, how amazing is it that He would choose to pour out His wrath on Jesus rather than stand to punish all of humanity?
God’s holiness should not only cause us to examine our own lives but to also marvel at His compassion, love and care. When we do that, perhaps we will stay far from sin and experience His faithfulness in new and fulfilling ways.