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August 27 Today’s Reading: Ezekiel 24-26
“Forbear to cry, make no mourning for the dead.”
In Ezekiel 25 and 26 the prophet of God was directed to set his face against the enemies of Jerusalem, the Ammonites, Moab, Seir, Edom, and the Philistines, and against Tyre. In the 24th chapter, God’s prophet was commanded to use the parable of a boiling pot to show his fury against Jerusalem. Then the Lord God issued that which appears to be a very strange command to his prophet. — “Son of man, behold, I take away from thee the desire of thine eyes with a stroke: yet neither shalt thou mourn nor weep, neither shall thy tears run down. Forbear to cry, make no mourning for the dead” (Ezekiel 24:16-17). Blessed Holy Spirit, show us now your message to our souls.
This parable of a boiling pot, with the choice pieces, boiled over an open fire, was designed to represent the fiery indignation of the Lord God against Jerusalem. Her scum, her filth, had risen to an enormous height. The Lord tells us that her blood was in the midst of her. What a painful picture this is of the place that was called “the holy city,” the Lord’s Jerusalem. In the days of his flesh, our Savior’s soul was melted to tears, when he beheld Jerusalem left desolate under the wrath and judgment of God (Luke 13:34-35).
Faith in Christ brings deliverance from all curse and condemnation, but not from pain and sorrow. There are many things that bring tears to our eyes about which the world knows nothing. The world knows nothing of the warfare that rages in our souls between the flesh and the spirit. The world knows nothing of our struggles with and weeping over inward sin, unbelief, hardness of heart toward God, and overmuch love of the world and of self. The world knows nothing of our nights of weeping and days filled with sorrow because of our lack of consecration to our God, our lack of devotion to our Savior, and our lack of submission to the direction of the blessed Holy Spirit. And, as our tender Savior wept over a perishing Jerusalem, believing hearts weep over perishing sinners, especially those dearest to them.
The Lord God often deals with his faithful servants in wisdom and grace known only to himself. Here is a faithful prophet bereaved of one very near and dear to him. The Lord himself calls her the desire of Ezekiel’s eyes, describing his great affection for her. But when she was suddenly taken from him by the hand of God, the prophet was forbidden to shed a tear for her loss. He was not allowed to show the slightest indication of grief or sorrow.
So it shall be in the last day. In heaven’s glory our God will wipe all tears from our eyes. Impossible as it is for us to imagine, there is a time coming when we shall weep no more, when we shall have no cause to weep! Heaven is a place of sure, eternal, ever-increasing bliss; and the cause of that bliss is our God! Heaven is a place of joy without sorrow, laughter without weeping, pleasantness without pain! In heaven there are no regrets, no remorseful tears, no second thoughts, no lost causes, no sorrows of any kind! When we see all things clearly, there will be no pain felt and no tears shed among the redeemed because of the damned who suffer the wrath of God forever in hell.
Ezekiel was required to show complete and perfect submission to the will of God. Oh, may God give me grace day by day to submit to and acquiesce in his will, never rebelling, but always approving of his providence! How I fail in this! My sin, my God, I confess. Your grace I beg. For the honor of Christ, the good of your people, and the benefit of my own soul, Spirit of God, teach me to “Rejoice in the Lord always!”