Mercy vs Justice: Ezekiel 8-9
Two attributes of God. Can one be spared for the other? I am always awed by the lives of the Israelites. God demonstrated so much of His character through His dealings with them. Today, I take away my responsibility to the work He has given me. I am to lead others towards Christ through my testimony and lifestyle. God has given me much responsibility, and I do not want to be one who looks back and is ashamed of the way I have instructed or modeled God’s love and character. I don’t want to become wrapped up in a cycle of unfaithfulness and idolatry just as the Israelites. Yes, God was always merciful in the midst of His judgment, but why would I desire for God to have to pour out judgment just so that He can demonstrate mercy. Would He do it, yes. But at what cost to my relationship with Him? I am grateful for the times that I have not deserved His faithfulness, yet He poured it out liberally to me.
Ezekiel continues in his vision from God in Chapters 8-9. God reveals some of the hidden sins of idolatry that had been committed by the elders in the sanctuary. While this is all a vision, God is revealing what is truly happening among God’s people while they are in captivity. They have turned from God and have begun worshipping as the Babylonians. God’s judgment falls on the elders first who have led generations into this mockery of God and blatant sin.
“Utterly slay old men, young men, maidens, little children, and women, but do not touch any man on whom is the mark; and you shall start from My sanctuary.” So they started with the elders who were before the temple. 7And He said to them, “Defile the temple and fill the courts with the slain. Go out!” Thus they went out and struck down the people in the city. 8As they were striking the people and I alone was left, I fell on my face and cried out saying, “Alas, Lord GOD! Are You destroying the whole remnant of Israel by pouring out Your wrath on Jerusalem?”
9Then He said to me, “The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is very, very great, and the land is filled with blood and the city is full of perversion; for they say, ‘The LORD has forsaken the land, and the LORD does not see!’ 10“But as for Me, My eye will have no pity nor will I spare, but I will bring their conduct upon their heads.”
He doesn’t spare them…they, who were ultimately responsible and accountable for those who came after them, are the first to be slaughtered. But, God in His mercy preserves those who cry and lament for those who have perverted the worship of God. (Ch 9: 4)
I am looking for God’s attributes throughout Ezekiel. Things are bleak at the moment in my study, but I am understanding more and more the consequences of rejecting God’s will and the renewed relationship that comes from repentance.