Frequently the Old Testament prophets get disrespected.
“It’s just a bunch of dusty old whining about places that doesn’t exist anymore. What’s the point of reading that?”
Well, there are many points to reading it, one of which is it instills in us how much God hates sin.
Here’s one chapter to stir the soul, Ezekiel 9 (I even picked a short one).
9:1–get some guys in charge of killing
9:2–six guys show up including one who “was clothed with linen, with a writer’s inkhorn by his side.”
9:3–Hey, guy with the inkhorn, I have a job for you.
9:4–use the ink to mark the foreheads of those “that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst [of Jerusalem].”
9:5–Other guys, go kill the non-marked.
9:6–kill young and old, male and female, don’t kill those with my mark, start at the temple.
9:7–don’t be afraid to kill the bad guys in the temple. So they went and killed people.
9:8–Ezekiel says, “it came to pass, while they were slaying them, and I was left, that I fell upon my face, and cried, and said, Ah Lord God! wilt thou destroy all the residue of Israel in thy pouring out of thy fury upon Jerusalem?” You can feel his trauma.
9:9–God replies, “The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is exceeding great, and the land is full of blood, and the city full of perverseness: for they say, The Lord hath forsaken the earth, and the Lord seeth not.” You can feel God’s trauma, too.
9:10–God continues, “mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity, but I will recompense their way upon their head.”
9:11–The chapter concludes with, “behold, the man clothed with linen, which had the inkhorn by his side, reported the matter, saying, I have done as thou hast commanded me.”
God hates sin.
God wiping out people does not show the impatience and bloodthirst of God, on the contrary, it shows the ugliness of sin despitefully done in the face of a gracious and merciful God who is willing to forgive.
Although our world and the church minimizes sin, calls the evil good, and pretends God doesn’t see (He only sees Christ not us, right?), God does see and He doesn’t like much of what He observes.
He is warning us–that’s the role of a prophet. If God were bloodthirsty, He’d not give hundreds of years of warning that judgment is coming, He’d just judge.
God wants to forgive, even more, God would like you to do things that need no forgiveness.
I wonder if we can say with the man in white with the inkstand at his side, “I have done as thou hast commanded me.“