No prophet emphasizes the glory and the holiness of God more than Ezekiel. He saw the glory of God — that was the great vision he had at the beginning of his book. He never forgot it. And we should not forget it either. His emphasis, therefore, is upon God's judgment. God is longsuffering, not willing that any should perish, and He warned his people again and again that, if they did not turn to Him, He would judge Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem was destroyed, and Ezekiel offered the people encouragement as they looked into the future. "But," he said, "another enemy is coming." When the Lord Jesus Christ was on earth, He wept over the city of Jerusalem because He knew that Titus the Roman would be around in a few years to destroy the city, just as Nebuchadnezzar had done in the past.

Things were wrong in Jerusalem; and, if that city was to enjoy the blessings of God, those things had to be made right. The liars should cease lying; the thieves should cease stealing; the lawless should become law-abiding; and righteousness should prevail in the city. Only when God was acknowledged and respected in the land could blessing rest upon Jerusalem. Righteousness must prevail before any nation or individual can experience the love, mercy, and goodness of God. Jerusalem was wrong — the people were thinking wrong; they were acting wrong. They were in sin, and God was right in judging them. God never blesses that which is wrong.

This is made evident when we contrast Ezekiel with Jeremiah. I want you to notice this because I consider it rather important. Jeremiah reveals the heart of God. God does not want to judge. As He said in Isaiah, judgment is strange work. He would rather save — that is His business. He is not willing that any should perish. He is very much involved with the human race. The great statement in John’s Gospel is that He became flesh and came down here among us. This reveals His love and concern for us. It broke His heart that Jerusalem would be destroyed. Jesus wept over it just as Jeremiah had wept over it centuries before.

In Ezekiel we have something altogether different. At the very time Jerusalem was being destroyed, Ezekiel's wife died and God forbad him to mourn or sorrow for her. He was to act like nothing happened. God wept over Jerusalem, but He did not mourn. He did not repent for what He had done, because He was right in doing it. God, with tears in His eyes, punished Jerusalem and destroyed the city, but He was doing that which was in keeping with His character. He did what was right because what God does is right. Paul asks, "...Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid" (Romans 9:14). Of course there is no unrighteousness with God. Whatever God does is right. His glory is manifested in judgment. His grace is manifested in redemption. If God had not provided redemption for us, there would be no salvation for man whatsoever.

—Adapted from J. Vernon McGee's Edited Messages on Ezekiel ©1982