Ezekiel 8:17-18 He said to me, “Have you seen this, son of man? Is it a trivial matter for the house of Judah to do the detestable things they are doing here? Must they also fill the land with violence and continually provoke me to anger? Look at them putting the branch to their nose! Therefore I will deal with them in anger; I will not look on them with pity or spare them. Although they shout in my ears, I will not listen to them.”
During his ministry on earth, the Lord Jesus, the Son of God, experienced all the same things that the prophet Ezekiel had experienced among God’s beloved chosen people: their half-hearted commitment; their pre-occupation with worldly pursuits and interests; their being absorbed into the worldview of the culture around them; their failure to listen to, and respond to, God’s clearly revealed Truth; their divided affections; their adoration of the material things of this world; their irrational commitment to human traditions instead of obedience to his Word; and their engaging in outward religious observance while having hearts that were far from God.
In his epic Sermon on the Mount, Jesus had declared: “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the PAGANS run after all these things, and your heavenly Father KNOWS that you need them. But SEEK FIRST HIS kingdom and HIS righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do NOT worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:31-33). Then, as Jesus entered their sacred city on his way to being crucified as an atoning sacrifice for their sin, he lamented as he spoke words of judgement: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord’” (Luke 13:34-35).
Jesus knew he was about to see the prophecy, given to Ezekiel 600 years earlier, fulfilled – and HE would be the one to bear the FULL FORCE of the Father’s wrath in the place of all those who would take refuge under his wings! How unthinking it would be not to accept this free and gracious offer of a refuge!
– Bruce Christian