Today's devotion from Ezekiel 21. I think this chapter is very telling for believers regarding their attitudes toward others. Ezekiel is told to, "face Jerusalem and preach against the sanctuaries." (Ezekiel 21:2, CSB) He is told to warn them of the coming judgment of God. A sword is unsheathed, and wrath comes with it.
I'm not the prophet, but I can't help but wonder how he felt about this. Was there a lingering resentment felt toward those who were not removed from the Promised Land? Did he feel slighted at having to live as he did? Was there an animosity toward those who refused to heed God's Word? Like Jonah, did he long to see these trouble makers "get their's"?
It didn't matter.
God wasn't leaving any room for Ezekiel's emotions to sway his ministry. God commanded the prophet to groan, "Groan bitterly with a broken heart right before their eyes." (Ezekiel 21:6, CSB) The sense that I get is that there is no room for gloating over the wrath of God. I know that there were psalms in which the author longed to see his enemies destroyed. Yet, I don't believe that is the heart of God, at least, not from a theological sense.
True. God is glorified in judging the wicked and executing righteous judgment. However, if that was His end goal, why send Christ? He is glorified by righteous judgment and merciful grace. The coming of Jesus seems to communicate that God would rather forgive and extend grace than to execute judgment.
In our world, it is easy to feel cavalier about the wickedness we see. It is tempting to become callous to the idea of God's wrath falling on those who deserve it. Yet, I deserve it. The only reason I'm not counted among them is due to His grace.
How should I feel? I think the answer is found here. I need to groan bitterly with a broken heart. I'm not Ezekiel, and I've had no visions of a sword unsheathed, but I have read of His righteous judgment coming; a judgment far more terrifying than the fleeting terror of physical punishment. A day is coming in which wrath is eternal.
With that, I think we should ponder a question: are we broken hearted for those that are broken?