Israel’s sin had gotten so horrible that God could not keep letting it go for a future day. He had told them they would pay for their sin, but they had ignored Him. God called Jerusalem a bloody city and described it this way in verses 3-5,
“You shall say, Thus says the Lord God: A city that sheds blood in her midst, so that her time may come, and that makes idols to defile herself! 4 You have become guilty by the blood that you have shed, and defiled by the idols that you have made, and you have brought your days near, the appointed time of your years has come. Therefore I have made you a reproach to the nations, and a mockery to all the countries. 5 Those who are near and those who are far from you will mock you; your name is defiled; you are full of tumult.”
He said it was Israel’s own doing that was bringing judgment down sooner rather than later. He listed her sins for her so that she could see how really depraved she had become.
· They had become bloodthirsty and power hungry. (Verse 6).
· They not only didn’t care for the orphans and widows among them, they made more. (Verses 7 and 25).
· They treated their parents with contempt, they extorted money from the sojourner. They robbed people. They took advantage of the poor, needy and weak. They put money and profit above everything else (Verses 7, 12, 27, 29).
· They defiled the Sabbaths and despised God’s Holy things. They treated the sacred as common and the common as sacred, they committed violence and then acted without remorse and continued to “worship” as if their violence didn’t matter, they were even lewd in the places meant to be holy. (Verses 8, 9, 26,)
· They committed sexual sins with their neighbor’s spouses, their spouses’ children, their children’s spouses, and their siblings. They had couldn’t restrain themselves long enough to wait for a woman to finish menstruating. (Verses 10, 11).
· They spoke for God when God didn’t speak, they whitewashed their sins by pretending it was okay with God. (Verses 23 and 28).
God was angry. He was ready to pour that anger out on His people, not so they would see how angry He was, but so they would remember who He was, so they would be purified, cleansed, and restored. Verses 17-22 read,
“And the word of the Lord came to me: 18 “Son of man, the house of Israel has become dross to me; all of them are bronze and tin and iron and lead in the furnace; they are dross of silver. 19 Therefore thus says the Lord God: Because you have all become dross, therefore, behold, I will gather you into the midst of Jerusalem. 20 As one gathers silver and bronze and iron and lead and tin into a furnace, to blow the fire on it in order to melt it, so I will gather you in my anger and in my wrath, and I will put you in and melt you. 21 I will gather you and blow on you with the fire of my wrath, and you shall be melted in the midst of it. 22 As silver is melted in a furnace, so you shall be melted in the midst of it, and you shall know that I am the Lord; I have poured out my wrath upon you.”
False prophets had lied to the people and led them to believe everything was hunky dory. But it wasn’t. Their sins were disgusting. They had been blinded to their own revolting wickedness and it had degenerated to a point which even the heathen nations around them thought they were sick.
Have we been blinded to our own corruption? Are we listening to false prophets with “positive” messages lead us down a wide path to destruction? Are we allowing people to walk down those paths away from the LORD?
Sin must be paid for. What kind of God would let evil and sin go unsettled? Sin is sin. What kind of God would make us guess which sins are okay and which are not? We are all sinners. Every single one of us has sinned. Every single one of us must pay for sin. And the price of sin is death. But God made a way! He sent His Son, Jesus. Jesus never sinned, not once. And because He lived perfectly, He didn’t owe His life. Instead, He gave it up freely to pay for the sins of anyone who would accept it.
We realize we are sinners and that we desperately need Jesus. We call on Him and He pays the price for our sin. All of it is forgiven, gone cleansed. What was once dross is now gone and we are left pure in God’s eyes. The Holy Spirit comes in seals us as forever belonging to God and works from that day forward transforming us to the perfect image of Christ.
But we have to see our sin to appreciate our desperate need. The popular teachers out there leading people to think they are just ducky and everything is copacetic are leading people to Hell. They don’t want to offend anyone by mentioning sin or Jesus. They are offending the LORD God!
Examine your own heart then. Ask the Spirit to examine it and to reveal your sin to you. Get off the wide positive whitewashed path and follow Jesus. The Lord looked for one man among Israel to rebuild them, and lead them back to Him, but couldn’t find one. So He poured used His wrath to purify them. Verses 30-31 read,
“And I sought for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the breach before me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none. 31 Therefore I have poured out my indignation upon them. I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath. I have returned their way upon their heads, declares the Lord God.”
You can be the person that reveals Jesus to people. He is standing in the breach. He and only He can save anyone from the fire.