21 The word of the Lord came to me again: 2 “Son of man, face Jerusalem and preach against the sanctuaries. Prophesy against the land of Israel, 3 and say to it, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am against you. I will draw my sword from its sheath and cut off from you both the righteous and the wicked. 4 Since I will cut off[a] both the righteous and the wicked, my sword will therefore come out of its sheath against all humanity from the south to the north. 5 So all humanity will know that I, the Lord, have taken my sword from its sheath—it will not be sheathed again.’
6 “But you, son of man, groan! Groan bitterly with a broken heart[b] right before their eyes. 7 And when they ask you, ‘Why are you groaning?’ then say, ‘Because of the news that is coming. Every heart will melt, and every hand will become weak. Every spirit will be discouraged, and all knees will run with urine.[c] Yes, it is coming and it will happen. This is the declaration of the Lord God.’”
8 The word of the Lord came to me: 9 “Son of man, prophesy, ‘This is what the Lord says!’ You are to proclaim,
‘A sword! A sword is sharpened
and also polished.
10 It is sharpened for slaughter,
polished to flash like lightning!
Should we rejoice?
The scepter of my son,
the sword despises every tree.[d]
11 The sword is given to be polished,
to be grasped in the hand.
It is sharpened, and it is polished,
to be put in the hand of the slayer.’
12 “Cry out and wail, son of man, for it is against my people. It is against all the princes of Israel! They are given over to the sword with my people. Therefore strike your thigh in grief. 13 Surely it will be a trial! And what if the sword despises even the scepter? The scepter will not continue.”[e] This is the declaration of the Lord God.
14 “So you, son of man, prophesy and clap your hands together:
Let the sword strike two times, even three.
It is a sword for massacre,
a sword for great massacre—
it surrounds[f] them!
15 I have appointed a sword for slaughter[g]
at all their gates,
so that their hearts may melt
and many may stumble.
Yes! It is ready to flash like lightning;
it is drawn[h] for slaughter.
16 Slash to the right;
turn to the left—
wherever your blade is directed.
17 I also will clap my hands together, and I will satisfy my wrath. I, the Lord, have spoken.”
18 The word of the Lord came to me: 19 “Now you, son of man, mark out two roads that the sword of Babylon’s king can take. Both of them should originate from the same land. And make a signpost at the fork in the road to each city. 20 Mark out a road that the sword can take to Rabbah of the Ammonites and to Judah into fortified Jerusalem. 21 For the king of Babylon stands at the split in the road, at the fork of the two roads, to practice divination: he shakes the arrows, consults the idols, and observes the liver. 22 The answer marked[i] Jerusalem appears in his right hand, indicating that he should set up battering rams, give the order to[j] slaughter, raise a battle cry, set battering rams against the gates, build a ramp, and construct a siege wall. 23 It will seem like false divination to those who have sworn an oath to the Babylonians,[k] but it will draw attention to their guilt so that they will be captured.
24 “Therefore, this is what the Lord God says: Because you have drawn attention to your guilt, exposing your transgressions, so that your sins are revealed in all your actions—since you have done this, you will be captured by them. 25 And you, profane and wicked prince of Israel,[l] the day has come for your punishment.[m]
26 “This is what the Lord God says:
Remove the turban, and take off the crown.
Things will not remain as they are;[n]
exalt the lowly and bring down the exalted.
27 A ruin, a ruin,
I will make it a ruin!
Yet this will not happen
until he comes;
I have given the judgment to him.[o]
28 “Now you, son of man, prophesy, and say, ‘This is what the Lord God says concerning the Ammonites and their contempt.’ You are to proclaim,
‘A sword! A sword
is drawn for slaughter,
polished to consume, to flash like lightning.
29 While they offer false visions
and lying divinations about you,
the time has come to put you
to the necks of the profane wicked ones;
the day has come
for final punishment.
30 “‘Return it to its sheath!
“‘I will judge you[p]
in the place where you were created,
in the land of your origin.
31 I will pour out my indignation on you;
I will blow the fire of my fury on you.
I will hand you over to brutal men,
skilled at destruction.
32 You will be fuel for the fire.
Your blood will be spilled within the land.
You will not be remembered,
for I, the Lord, have spoken.’”
Indictment of Sinful Jerusalem
22 The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “As for you, son of man, will you pass judgment? Will you pass judgment against the city of blood? Then explain all her detestable practices to her. 3 You are to say, ‘This is what the Lord God says: A city that sheds blood within her walls so that her time of judgment has come and who makes idols for herself so that she is defiled! 4 You are guilty of the blood you have shed, and you are defiled from the idols you have made. You have brought your judgment[q] days near and have come to your years of punishment.[r] Therefore, I have made you a disgrace to the nations and a mockery to all the lands. 5 Those who are near and those far away from you will mock you, you infamous one full of turmoil.
6 “‘Look, every prince of Israel within you has used his strength to shed blood. 7 Father and mother are treated with contempt, and the resident alien is exploited within you. The fatherless and widow are oppressed in you. 8 You despise my holy things and profane my Sabbaths. 9 There are men within you who slander in order to shed blood. People who live in you eat at the mountain shrines;[s] they commit depraved acts within you. 10 Men within you have sexual intercourse with their father’s wife and violate women during their menstrual impurity. 11 One man within you commits a detestable act with his neighbor’s wife; another defiles his daughter-in-law with depravity; and yet another violates his sister, his father’s daughter. 12 People who live in you accept bribes in order to shed blood. You take interest and profit on a loan and brutally extort your neighbors. You have forgotten me. This is the declaration of the Lord God.
13 “‘Now look, I clap my hands together against the dishonest profit you have made and against the blood shed among you. 14 Will your courage endure or your hands be strong in the days when I deal with you? I, the Lord, have spoken, and I will act. 15 I will disperse you among the nations and scatter you among the countries; I will purge your uncleanness. 16 You[t] will be profaned in the sight of the nations. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”
Jerusalem as God’s Furnace
17 The word of the Lord came to me: 18 “Son of man, the house of Israel has become merely dross to me. All of them are copper, tin, iron, and lead inside the furnace; they are just dross from silver. 19 Therefore, this is what the Lord God says: Because all of you have become dross, I am about to gather you into Jerusalem. 20 Just as one gathers silver, copper, iron, lead, and tin into the furnace to blow fire on them and melt them, so I will gather you in my anger and wrath, put you inside, and melt you. 21 Yes, I will gather you together and blow on you with the fire of my fury, and you will be melted within the city. 22 As silver is melted inside a furnace, so you will be melted inside the city. Then you will know that I, the Lord, have poured out my wrath on you.”
Indictment of a Sinful Land
23 The word of the Lord came to me: 24 “Son of man, say to her, ‘You are a land that has not been cleansed, that has not received rain in the day of indignation.’ 25 The conspiracy of her prophets within her is[u] like a roaring lion tearing its prey: they devour people, seize wealth and valuables, and multiply the widows within her. 26 Her priests do violence to my instruction and profane my holy things. They make no distinction between the holy and the common, and they do not explain the difference between the clean and the unclean. They close their eyes to my Sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.
27 “Her officials within her are like wolves tearing their prey, shedding blood, and destroying lives in order to make profit dishonestly. 28 Her prophets plaster for them with whitewash by seeing false visions and lying divinations, saying, ‘This is what the Lord God says,’ when the Lord has not spoken. 29 The people of the land have practiced extortion and committed robbery. They have oppressed the poor and needy and unlawfully exploited the resident alien. 30 I searched for a man among them who would repair the wall and stand in the gap before me on behalf of the land so that I might not destroy it, but I found no one. 31 So I have poured out my indignation on them and consumed them with the fire of my fury. I have brought their conduct down on their own heads.” This is the declaration of the Lord God.
God instructed Ezekiel to share the next prophecy with intense groaning and broken heartedness. Why? God wanted Israel to understand the seriousness of the prophecy to come. God wanted them to truly see how grieved He was by their sin. We know clearly from scriptures that God is grieved by any sin. But we need to ask ourselves, how often are WE grieved by our sin?
Guilt. Shame. Regret. These are three of the most powerful emotional objects we possess. When we give those emotions over to Satan’s hands, they become weapons used to beat us, break us, and deceive us. But when we surrender those emotions to God, they become tools used to refine us and sharpen us. If you are grieved by your sin, rejoice! God is working in your life, to bring Himself glory.