The Nation of Israel, God’s chosen people, the people upon whom God had set his affection because he loved them has now become the object of his wrath:
This is Jerusalem. I have set her in the center of the nations, with countries all around her. And she has rebelled against my rules by doing wickedness more than the nations, and against my statutes more than the countries all around her… (5:5-6)
…Behold, I, even I, am against you. And I will execute judgments2 in your midst in the sight of the nations. (5:8)
…therefore I will withdraw. My eye will not spare, and I will have no pity. (5:11)
Instead of being a Nation that declares the Glory of God, God says:
…I will make you a desolation and an object of reproach among the nations all around you and in the sight of all who pass by. (5:14)
How could they have wandered so far?
Hear, O my people, while I admonish you!
O Israel, if you would but listen to me!
But my people did not listen to my voice;
Israel would not submit to me.
So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts,
to follow their own counsels. (Ps.81:8,11-12)
Yet it’s to this nation, these people, that God sends Ezekiel. Ezekiel who saw the heavens open, the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord and heard the voice of one speaking.
This is grace, God opening the heavens revealing his glory and his Word.
And I will stretch out my hand against them and make the land desolate and waste, in all their dwelling places, from the wilderness to Riblah. Then they will know that I am the Lord. (6:14)
Even his wrath and anger are designed with the intent that his people would know that he is the Lord:
And they shall know that I am the Lord. I have not said in vain that I would do this evil to them. (6:10)
The Apostle Paul says in his letter to the Ephesians:
[we] were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. (2:3)
Why? They were living to gratify the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. But God opened heaven —
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (Jn. 1:14)
Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. (Heb.1:1-2)
Why did God speak to us through his Son? So that the wrath that was due us because of our sin might be poured out upon Jesus Christ on the cross, that we might be forgiven, and that we might know that he is the Lord. He was forsaken that we might be redeemed:
…God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom. 5:8)
Why did he die for us? That he might bring us to God —
Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. (Heb. 2:1)
Thanks be to God!