"Go throughout the city of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over all the detestable things that are done in it." (Ezekiel 9:4)
God had plans to destroy those in the city who did not have the mark.
Reading this passage yesterday sparked a debate between CJ and Joshua of whether this vision actually happened or whether it had more of a symbolic meaning. An hour later, the friendly but heated debate ended with both sides agreeing that either way, the more important question was: what does God want to say to us through these words?
Would we receive the mark?
Do we really care?
Do our hearts break when we see or hear God's name dishonored? When we become aware of acts of injustice? Do we grieve and lament or have our hearts become calloused? Have we "conformed to the standards of the nations around us" as God accused the Israelites in Ezekiel 11:12?
How prone we are to harden our hearts. How wonderful the promise later in that same chapter:
"I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them heart of flesh. Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God." (Ezekiel 11:19-20)
How we need the Spirit to change our hearts from stone to flesh. How we need His ongoing work in our lives so that our hearts continue to care, to grieve, and to lament as God's does.
I love the scene in The Chronicles of Narnia when Aslan breathes on those whom the witch has turned into statues, and with His breath they miraculously return to life.
May we experience His breath of life daily. May we be marked as ones who truly care, the way that God cares.