Ezekiel 24 has the prophet delivering a tough message on the day Babylon began its siege of Jerusalem. Previously God’s people in Jerusalem had boasted that the walls of the city would protect them from the Babylonian armies as a cooking pot protects the meat within from the fire. Ezekiel now uses the illustration of the cooking pot in an entirely opposite sense. The people of Jerusalem (the meat in the pot) are going to be ‘cooked alive’ by the ‘fire’ of the besieging armies of Babylon.
“Put on the pot, put it on and also pour water in it; Put in it the pieces, Every good piece, the thigh and the shoulder; Fill it with choice bones”. Everyone in the city is going into the pot, and the Babylonians would destroy them all. The city will remain under siege until the enemy can get in. Then God says they will “set it empty on its coals so that it may be hot and its bronze may glow And its filthiness may be melted in it, Its rust consumed. He’s going to clean things up. The pot, covered in rust and filth, cannot be cleansed, and the meat within it must be thrown out. Jerusalem is morally filthy beyond cleansing, and the people will be taken out of it into captivity.
God is intent on doing the job. “You will not be cleansed from your filthiness again Until I have spent My wrath on you….it is coming and I will act. I will not relent, and I will not pity and I will not be sorry; according to your ways and according to your deeds I will judge you”. God can’t ignore sin. There is judgment at hand. Sin often spills onto people around it. It came as a shock to Ezekiel to learn from God that his wife was about to die. He was told not to show any of the usual signs of mourning, but to go about his business as usual. Before his wife died, Ezekiel told the people what would happen.
“I spoke to the people in the morning, and in the evening my wife died”. That’s about as close to taking something very bad in strides as you can get. Ezekiel started the next morning continuing to give God’s truth to His people. As expected, the people asked Ezekiel why he was not observing the usual mourning customs. Ezekiel explained that he was demonstrating how the exiles would react when they heard news of the destruction of their temple and the slaughter of their own relatives. There would be no mourning or deep grief. The situation would not allow that. When news of the fall of Jerusalem reached the exiles, the restrictions God had placed on Ezekiel’s speech and movements would be lifted. Then the people would at last realize the truth of his message and be prepared to listen to him.