Throughout the book of Ezekiel, we have been reading about Jerusalem’s sins and God’s anger against Jerusalem. In chapters 22 & 23 we read about the depth of those sins and the pain they heaped on God. In these chapters Jerusalem is presented as two adulterous sisters.

There can be no question Jerusalem deserved everything that happened to them.

Alongside the judgement of God Jerusalem and her people also had to face the derision, laughter and mocking of her close neighbours. The nations around Jerusalem rejoiced and celebrated in her fall.

What message do we send out about God’s mercy and offer of forgiveness and restoration?

Things haven’t really changed. Today the world around the church still rejoices in her downfall and disgrace. When the church makes the headlines for all the wrong reasons people laugh. When the church sins and rightly faces prosecution people rejoice, not in justice being served, but the downfall of the church. When individual Christians fall into sin and face disgrace – the world around does not rush to help but shuns and alienates.

To be clear there is no excuse for the church bringing the name of the Lord into disrepute and every crime committed by, or in the name of the church or associated with the church should be punished for to the full extent of the law. Being the church should not bring any immunity from justice.

But… the God of the church is also the God of the nations. If the nations celebrate the fall of the church God will bring judgement on those nations just as he did in the book of Ezekiel.

Over all the earth you reign on high

If you do not yet know the Lord as Saviour or if you currently refuse to acknowledge the Lord even if you deny the existence of the Lord. This does not mean you are beyond the jurisdiction of the Lord. God is the Lord of all, he is Lord of the church, the believer as well as the nations and the unbeliever.

Ezekiel’s warning is clear to those who delight in the downfall of the church. God will act.

This is also a clear warning to the church. Our attitude to others must be filled with compassion. We cannot celebrate the downfall of anyone. Why did Jesus say we should visit the prisoner, if not to care for them? Why are we to search for the lost sheep if not to restore them. In Galatians 6:1 Paul said this.

Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.

God did not show us the judgement we deserved, he does not celebrate punishment, his desire is for mercy and grace, forgiveness and new life. Our view of the world should be the same. God expects non-believers to show his church that same grace.

Prayer Father, thank you for the mercy you have shown me in Jesus Christ. Forgive me when instead of showing mercy to others I celebrate their downfall. Give me a new outlook on life. A new compassion. A new ability to see the possible change that you can bring about in people’s lives. Amen