God Withdraws from Jerusalem. The Day Is Coming. Metaphors for the Useless Jerusalem. A Lament.
“You (or ‘They’) will know that I am the Lord.”
– God, over 70 times in the Book of Ezekiel
The wrath of God has been an ever present over these past few books; that makes sense considering the context – God’s roaring punishment for the rebellious Jerusalem. God allowed both Judah and Israel to collapse under the weight of their malice without lifting a finger of judgment against them, all so that he could bring down the hammer now in an effective away. And this will not be an opportunity wasted, as God makes it clear 70 times in this book that His people “will know” that He is God by His actions.
A few examples:
They will know when “inhabited towns will be laid waste.” (12:20)
They will know when “the fire [will] consume them.” (15:7)
They will know when “all his choice will fall by the sword.” (17:21)
And so on…
So the strategy here is shock and awe – no mercy for the wicked. Show power through tremendous and far-reaching retribution. Effective.
Very effective, actually, as it appears that God has changed His mind once again with regards to morality/mortality question. Consider this passage:
“Yet you ask, ‘Why does the son not share the guilt of his father?’ Since the son has done what is just and right and has been careful to keep all my decrees, he will surely live. The one who sins is the one who will die.” (18:19-20a)
This passage adjusts two long-held viewpoints in the culture. Firstly, a child should not pay for the sins of a previous generation. We have seen several instances of the opposite, including most recently when God allowed Nebuchadnezzar to kill all of Zedekiah’s sons for his refusal to surrender. While some passages in the Law showed exceptions to this custom, it appears (for now, at least) that each will be held responsible only for him-or-herself.
Secondly – and a contender for the hold-the-phone moment of the day – is that God will “surely” allow the good to live, while “surely” condemning the evil. Didn’t Job teach us anything? …that God can do as He pleases, meaning no correlation between holiness and continuity of life?
With that logic though, God can just change His mind again given the circumstance. So wily.
Also, it’s entirely possible that God only refers to this instance in time. Maybe not-so-wiley.
SIDE NOTE OF THE DAY (although much of this entry could be defined as a “side note”):
Read this little gem:
Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. (16:49)
According to this prophet, the sin (singular) of Sodom was not helping the impoverished. I know other prophets/disciples have differing opinions, but for this close-minded and opportunistic writer, the matter is closed.