Ezekiel 22:1-5 (NIV) 1 The word of the LORD came to me: 2 “Son of man, will you judge her? Will you judge this city of bloodshed? Then confront her with all her detestable practices 3 and say: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: O city that brings on herself doom by shedding blood in her midst and defiles herself by making idols, 4 you have become guilty because of the blood you have shed and have become defiled by the idols you have made. You have brought your days to a close, and the end of your years has come. Therefore I will make you an object of scorn to the nations and a laughingstock to all the countries. 5 Those who are near and those who are far away will mock you, O infamous city, full of turmoil.
On verses 1-5: In another message that God gives to Ezekiel for the city of Jerusalem, God confirms that it was the people of Jerusalem who brought trouble upon themselves. He describes Jerusalem as the “city that brings on herself doom by shedding blood” (v3), that “defiles herself by making idols” (v3), who has “become defiled by the idols you have made” (v4) and “brought your days to a close” (v4).
What can we learn from this? When we sin against God or against others, we are ultimately bringing trouble on ourselves, making our lives harder than they need to be, and cutting short our own days. On the other hand, as Psalm 34:12-14 says, “Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies. Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” Praise God that Jesus Christ came and died on the cross so as to lengthen our days and to erase the biggest forms of trouble that we get ourselves into with our sin.
Ezekiel 22:6-16 (NIV) 6 “‘See how each of the princes of Israel who are in you uses his power to shed blood. 7 In you they have treated father and mother with contempt; in you they have oppressed the alien and mistreated the fatherless and the widow. 8 You have despised my holy things and desecrated my Sabbaths. 9 In you are slanderous men bent on shedding blood; in you are those who eat at the mountain shrines and commit lewd acts. 10 In you are those who dishonor their fathers’ bed; in you are those who violate women during their period, when they are ceremonially unclean. 11 In you one man commits a detestable offense with his neighbor’s wife, another shamefully defiles his daughter-in-law, and another violates his sister, his own father’s daughter. 12 In you men accept bribes to shed blood; you take usury and excessive interest and make unjust gain from your neighbors by extortion. And you have forgotten me, declares the Sovereign LORD. 13 “‘I will surely strike my hands together at the unjust gain you have made and at the blood you have shed in your midst. 14 Will your courage endure or your hands be strong in the day I deal with you? I the LORD have spoken, and I will do it. 15 I will disperse you among the nations and scatter you through the countries; and I will put an end to your uncleanness. 16 When you have been defiled in the eyes of the nations, you will know that I am the LORD.'”
On verses 6-16: Notice that in verses 6-12 the words “in you” are repeated over and over, as God points out the sins that He sees His people committing in Jerusalem. Then in verses 13 to 16 God describes what He will do about such sins and, in particular, the punishment He would dole out to show the Israelites that truly He is the Lord.
Similarly, when God saw all the sins in us, He did something about it. Fortunately for us what God did was punish His Son Jesus instead of us, so that we could be forgiven and brought near to Him. Whereas we deserved a similar fate as the one Jerusalem is described as deserving in these verses, God showed us great mercy instead and did a new work in us.
Thank You, Jesus, that when You saw so much sin, injustice, and hypocrisy in me, You showed me incredible mercy. You came and You died on the cross to pay for all my sin, injustice and hypocrisy, so that instead of being scattered from You, I could be gathered to You. Thank You that through You the old self in me has died and that in You I have a new identity and a new life. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!