Wrath and Mercy

It is common for people to have a vision of a God who is full of mercy and compassion. Because of this, it is almost unimaginable to speak of God showing no pity especially to Israel, his chosen people.

But listen carefully to his words against Israel in Ezekiel 8:18:

Therefore I will act in wrath. My eye will not spare them, nor will I have pity. And though they cry in my ears with a loud voice, I will not hear them.

With open eyes, God won’t pity them for the disasters they would suffer. With open ears, he won’t pay attention to their cries. That’s no mercy!  That is why God said, “I will act in wrath.”

God does not just become angry for no reason. That’s why the verse starts with “therefore.” God’s wrath is in response to their violence, idolatry and provoking God to anger. God called their sins “abominations” and he even showed that the people will commit even “greater abominations.” They will do more acts that are repulsive and abhorrent to God. This is in spite of all the great deeds of mercy and faithfulness God had already shown them. Therefore, God is totally justified in his actions. No one can accuse him of injustice when he acts in violent wrath.

Thanks be to Christ for bearing this violent wrath on the cross in our behalf! There is, therefore, now no condemnation for those who are in Christ (Rom. 8:1). Thank you for the cross, Lord. I deserve to suffer the full extent of your wrath. Oh, what a fearful thing to fall into the hands of an angry God! But I don’t have to fear anymore because of Jesus. The cross of Jesus displays God’s justice and mercy.

Therefore, we can have a rock-solid assurance that God is saying to us the opposite of what he said in Ezekiel 8:18:

Therefore I will act in mercy and love. My eye will spare, and I will have pity. And when they cry in my ears with a loud voice and even with a soft whisper, I will hear them.


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