Ezekiel 9 has the prophet receiving a very vivid vision from God. His plan to punish Jerusalem was bloody and complete. God brings His six executioners into the city – “each with his shattering weapon in his hand” – with the intent of carrying out His work of judgment on the sinful people among His people. Things have gotten way out of control. God has been pushed off the altar and put aside. People were living in sin, spitting in God’s face and ignoring His Law. And God shows Ezekiel exactly what will happen.
Before the bloodshed begins, God sent a special servant to put a mark on those who opposed the city’s wickedness, so that they might be preserved through the coming bloodshed. “Go through the midst of the city, even through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations which are being committed in its midst”. There is hope that some will be found that are living a life worthy of the Lord’s mercy – who are disgusted with the lifestyle people around them are living and walk in obedience to God and His commandments. Those folks were spared judgment but unfortunately their numbers were few.
Then God turns loose His executioners. “Go through the city after him and strike; do not let your eye have pity and do not spare. Utterly slay old men, young men, maidens, little children, and women, but do not touch any man on whom is the mark; and you shall start from My sanctuary….they went out and struck down the people in the city”. The first place where the judgment fell was the temple, where the nation’s leaders had led the people astray with their wickedness and idolatry. The temple was soon defiled with the corpses scattered around its courts. God’s wrath began with those entrusted in leading and caring for His people. They didn’t get a pass. They were held accountable for what they had allowed and caused to happen.
Ezekiel feared that last of Israel would be wiped out by this slaughter. God allows a remnant to remain, but His actions were severe and very complete. “The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is very, very great, and the land is filled with blood and the city is full of perversion….My eye will have no pity nor will I spare, but I will bring their conduct upon their heads”. God assured the prophet that his judgment was just. The people acted as if God did not matter; so they suffered the consequences. But safety was guaranteed for those believers who stood firm for God amid the nationwide ungodliness. How we live matters. God demands that we keep Him in His rightful place in our life and in our nation!