The temple visions. To Israel, the Lord speaks through Ezekiel: “An end! . . . Now the end is upon you, and I will send my anger upon you; I will judge you according to your ways, and I will punish you for all your abominations. And my eye will not spare you, nor will I have pity, but I will punish you for your ways, while your abominations are in your midst. Then you will know that I am the Lord” (7:2-4).
The Lord does not deal with Israel on a whim or merely out of anger. He has loved her and done so much for her. He so desires her to love him back. Israel has turned away from her God and to the idols. But the Lord will deal with her in such a way that she will once again know that the Lord is God. If his blessings have not done so, if his pleadings have not done so, then his wrath will open Israel’s eyes and she will once again see clearly. Tough love.
Later, after the announcement of additional judgment, the Lord declares: “I will gather you from the peoples and assemble you out of the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel. . . . And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. . . . And they shall be my people, and I will be their God” (11:17-20). Yes, tough love, but definitely love! God simply cannot walk away from his people for good because he loves them so. As he loves us!
O Spirit of the living God,
in all the fullness of your grace,
wherever human feet have trod,
descend upon our fallen race.
Give tongues of fire and hearts of love
to preach the reconciling word;
anoint with power from heaven above
whenever gospel truth is heard. -- James Montgomery (1823)