“You therefore, son of man, prophesy,
And strike your hands together.
The third time let the sword do double damage.
It is the sword that slays,
The sword that slays the great men,
That enters their private chambers.
15 I have set the point of the sword against all their gates,
That the heart may melt and many may stumble.
Ah! It is made bright;
It is grasped for slaughter:
16 “Swords at the ready!
Set your blade!
Wherever your edge is ordered!
17 “I also will beat My fists together,
And I will cause My fury to rest;
I, the LORD, have spoken.”
18 The word of the LORD came to me again, saying: 19 “And son of man, appoint for yourself two ways for the sword of the king of Babylon to go; both of them shall go from the same land. Make a sign; put it at the head of the road to the city. 20 Appoint a road for the sword to go to Rabbah of the Ammonites, and to Judah, into fortified Jerusalem. 21 For the king of Babylon stands at the parting of the road, at the fork of the two roads, to use divination: he shakes the arrows, he consults the images, he looks at the liver. 22 In his right hand is the divination for Jerusalem: to set up battering rams, to call for a slaughter, to lift the voice with shouting, to set battering rams against the gates, to heap up a siege mound, and to build a wall. 23 And it will be to them like a false divination in the eyes of those who have sworn oaths with them; but he will bring their iniquity to remembrance, that they may be taken.
No news analyst needed here to know what is coming. God speaks directly to the people and allows that he will not intervene in what is coming their way. Instead he suggests their sin has brought this upon them because they have left him and turned to other idols. He goes further to say the king of Babylon is acting under his direct influence. This would make one think twice about displeasing the Lord God. We can see a similar correlation between this and the child who has deliberately disobeyed by breaking a rule, maybe even one that could cause harm to another and when the one in charge hands out the consequences for the disobedience, the child blames that one for his punishment not recognizing his disobedient action. How many times do you hear “the teacher made me miss recess,” or “the principal gave me a detention” or “Dad won’t let me go?”
The difference, of course, is the severity of the punishment in relation to the crime. Souls were at stake here, disrespect is to the Creator who is the only one who can destroy a soul. Christ warns – be in fear of the one who can destroy the soul, rather than anyone who can destroy the body.
“…Matthew 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell….”
How does this, or does this apply to us today? God judges, that is his prerogative and part of his nature. He is also merciful and grants the way of escape from the consequences of sin that judgment brings, through his son, Jesus. For us today, the cross makes the difference. As believers we are covered by the blood of Christ, the sin is forgiven, we are told we are changed into a new creature who now may walk with God. Accepting that knowledge by faith, we need not fear his judgment and wrath, we can find hope in this life and the next; that we are able to rise above the pain and suffering this world, time, space gives us and also rejoice and embrace the life he gives looking forward to joining him in eternity.