Since in my absence I didn’t have time to give you any commentary, I’d like to take a moment to briefly tell you about the background of the book of Ezekiel before commenting on today’s reading.
The name Ezekiel means “The Strength of God” or “One Strengthened by God”, and it’s a good thing he was, because like Jeremiah the message that God gave him to deliver was a biter one for the children of Israel. But it also was ultimately a message of encouragement for them, too. You see, it was during their captivity in Babylon that Ezekiel’s ministry took place.
The first part of the book (chapters 1-3) told of Ezekiel’s preparation, the second part (chapters 4-24) told of Israel’s sins, and the last part (chapter 25 through the end of the book) tell of Israel’s restoration.
In today’s chapters, we read of the different nations that God would bring judgment upon, except in chapter 28 Israel learned of some of the ways God would restore them, as a way to encourage them even in their captivity.
God loves his chosen people as a father loves his children. I know that as a father, it was important to me that when I punished my boys, they should know that I still loved them. How terrible it would be if they thought I no longer loved them when they disobeyed me. The punishment would be cruel, and would not bring the result I wanted if they thought my love was lost to them forever. Without love, they would be crushed.
God never punishes his people without love as the motivation. His purpose is always to bring us back to a restored relationship with Him. And of course, the ultimate fulfillment of that is the punishment Jesus took upon Himself for our permanent and eternal restoration.