Because of their Grief over Evil
Ezekiel 9 – 12
In addition to many similarities between the books of Ezekiel and Jeremiah, there are also many similarities between the books of Ezekiel and Revelation.
In Ezekiel 9:4, we see God commanded someone with a writing kit to “go throughout the city of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over all the detestable things that are done in it.” Then God commanded others in verses 5 and 6 to “follow him through the city and kill without showing pity or compassion. Slaughter old men, young men and maidens, women and children, but do not touch anyone who has the mark.”
I’ll point out that this is similar to the 144,000 in Revelation 7 who have the seal of God on their forehead, and are protected, but that’s not what I want to comment on.
I want to focus on those in Ezekiel who were to be sealed. Specifically, the only ones marked were, “those who grieve and lament over all the detestable things” that were going on in Jerusalem.
This makes me wonder what God thinks of people today who claim to be God’s people, including us. Do we grieve and cry because of the sins of our nation? If not, and if we had lived back then, we would have been targeted for slaughter. That’s a sobering thought. It isn’t enough to just try to live a righteous life, we should also be deeply distressed by the evil we see around us.
I’m reminded of 2 Peter 2:7-8, which says, “and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)”. I reference this to point out that Lot was distressed and tormented by what he saw and heard in Sodom.
I’m also reminded of 2 Corinthians 6:17, which says, “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.”
God is calling us to radically follow Him. I don’t mean we should be radical like, say, Islamic jihadists, I mean we should radically live for God – so much so that we are tormented by the evil that surrounds us. If we were, I dare say, we would much more enthusiastically share the gospel with the dying world around us.
I’ll close with the exhortation found in Jude 1:22-23, “Be merciful to those who doubt; save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.”
Today’s Bible reading passage can be read or listened to from BibleGateway here – Ezekiel 9-12
Tomorrow’s Bible reading will be Ezekiel 13-15 as we continue on our 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan