Ezekiel was a contemporary prophet with Jeremiah. They lived during the time of the fall of Jerusalem. While Jeremiah was left in Jerusalem, Ezekiel was taken into Babylonian exile with the second deportation in 597 BC. Ezekiel was scheduled to become a priest but God called him to be a prophet. He focused on why the Jews were exiled: their stubborn rejection of God’s will begged for divine intervention. Ezekiel was granted a vision in which he returned to Jerusalem to see the abominations causing the punishment. Beginning with chapter 8 Ezekiel witnessed a series of idolatrous activities that was practiced not only in the city but in the Temple itself. Thus, God’s glory could not remain in the Holy of Holies above the mercy seat between the cherubim. In 9:3 the glory of God departed through the Holy place to the threshold of the sanctuary, then through the various courts to the outer court (10:4, 5), then to the eastern gate of the city (10:18, 19) and finally God’s glory departed the city entirely and moved up the mountain to the east (11:22, 23). The message was unmistakable: God will not strive with man forever (Genesis 6:3). The time for God’s judgment had arrived: “Then he said to me, ‘The sins of the people of Israel and Judah are very, very great. The entire land is full of murder; the city is filled with injustice. They are saying, ‘The Lord doesn’t see it! The Lord has abandoned the land!’ So I will not spare them or have any pity on them. I will fully repay them for all they have done’”, 9:9, 10.
In another time and a different day the Psalmist wrote “Rise up, O Judge of the earth; pay back the proud what they deserve. How long will the wicked, O Lord, be jubilant? They pour out arrogant words; they are full of boasting. They crush your people, O Lord; they oppress your inheritance. They slay the widow and the alien; they murder the fatherless. They say, ‘The Lord does not see; the God of Jacob pays no heed’”, Psalm 94:2-7). But God does see! And answers: “Understand, O dullest of the people! Fools, when will you be wise? He who planted the ear, does he not hear? He who formed the eye, does he not see? He who disciplines the nations, does he not rebuke? He who teaches man knowledge— the Lord—knows the thoughts of man, that they are but a breath”, verses 9-11. Sooner or later God’s judgment is sure to come.
Sermon topic: Do you sigh, do you cry? ~ Ezekiel 9:1-11