Read Ezekiel 21
Focus on verse 7
It is one thing to hear bad news that is clearly defined, it is quite another to hear what appears to be news so awful that it defies definition. It is vaguely reminiscent of a vintage horror film where the suspense is created by leaving the object of the horror an undefined mystery. All that the viewer sees is the faces of the terrified people about to be eaten by whatever it is, and perhaps glimpses of the trail of destruction the beast leaves behind. The pronoun that strikes fear into the hearts of all who hear it become the pronoun – it. The most frightening phrase in the movie becomes “Here it comes!” or “There it is!”
The fact that we don’t know what “it” is makes it all the more frightening because our imaginations are often much more creative than that of the movie’s writer or producer. Therefore, when the monster finally appears, it can sometimes be almost anti-climactic if it turns out to be less impressive than we imagined it to be.
In today’s reading Ezekiel is instructed to do a little acting. He is to groan and act as though his heart is breaking with fear. Then when people ask he is to explain;
And when they say to you, ‘Why do you groan?’ you shall say, Because of the news that it is coming. Every heart will melt, and all hands will be feeble; every spirit will faint, and all knees will be weak as water. Behold, it is coming, and it will be fulfilled’ declares the Lord God. (v. 7)
As the rest of the chapter unfolds more details are given in regard to the nature of the coming apocalypse for the nation of Israel at the hand of the Babylonians. In this case the reality is every bit as terrifying as the imagination. Careful reading also reveals overtones of a future apocalypse that has not yet arrived. This is an event that should motivate us to repentance because it may concern those who are currently alive. There is a time coming when life as we know it will be over. It will come either as the end of our physical life by some cause or another, or it will come when we see Jesus return, just as His disciples saw Him go many hundreds of years ago. For those of us who look forward to the return of Christ there may yet be some apprehension in regard to how it will all come about but we can be confident that our future with Him is secure. On the other hand, those of us who choose to deny that He is returning, it will be a very unpleasant surprise when our “hearts will melt, our hands will be feeble, our spirit will faint and our knees be weak as water.” In other words…it won’t be a happy time! Think your worst nightmare on steroids and then multiply by infinity.
What seems most tragic to me about this is that it is a choice we make. This is not and angry God sending wicked people to their destruction. Rather it is a loving God desiring wicked people to choose to repent and return like the waiting father of a prodigal child. It breaks the heart of God when people reject Him, yet His perfect love and justice require that we be given the option to choose. What I don’t understand is why anyone would choose destruction when eternal life is available.