I used to have a false impression of God: a God who judges people arbitrarily for breaking His rules. But a careful reading of Ezekiel through the Ezekiel teaching series has shown me that God isn’t arbitrary at all, He is very angry at and is broken by Israel’s whoring. Because God is holy and righteous, He has to judge Israel, His own people, who are in rebellion against Him, and He would be perfectly right in doing so.
However, this shouldn’t be seen as a bad thing, because the judgment that God brought upon His people is not separate from His means of saving them. Time and time again throughout the book of Ezekiel, it is written that the only way Israel can come to know God, loathe themselves and turn to Him is through His judgment. Therefore, rather than seeing judgment as a negative thing in contrast to salvation, what Ezekiel is trying to show us is that the salvation that we Christians celebrate comes through judgment.
The culmination of this, then, is finally seen at the cross – the place where God’s wrath and mercy meet. It is similar to what’s shown in Ezekiel, that as Christians gazing upon the cross, we see God’s righteous anger poured out in judgment on Christ, who atoned for our sins, and in response to that we are cut to the heart as we come to know the God whom we’ve sinned against, and turn in repentance to Him.
This series has truly challenged me on whether I understand God’s judgment rightly in light of His plans of salvation for mankind, and whether I embody the weight and depth of this reality as I preach the gospel to all around me. Is this gospel similar to the God I used to believe in? Arbitrary and distant? Or is it the embodiment of God’s righteousness as seen on the cross, carrying with it the full weight of God’s wrath against evil and unrighteousness – the place of my deepest shame, and my deepest thankfulness.
If you wish to grow in the knowledge of God, come and check out our Ezekiel series here.