Ezekiel 22: Can We Stand under Judgment?
In Ezekiel 22, God is explaining the consequences of idolatry. In the middle of His explanation, we receive a very interesting hypothetical question.
Eze 22:14 Can thine heart endure, or can thine hands be strong, in the days that I shall deal with thee? I the LORD have spoken it, and will do it.
God is going to bring judgment on the people of Israel, and He asked the people if they think they are going to be able to hold on under the judgment of God.
This implicitly brings up two questions. The first is whether or not people are strong enough to endure under the judgment of God. To think about it, let’s consider Noah’s Ark. Other than Noah’s family that was saved through the grace of God, was anyone able to survive? Did God say that He was going to destroy every living thing but then some person outsmarted Him and built a raft? No. The judgment of God was done because it was what God willed. Therefore, I think it is pretty safe to say that we cannot resist the judgment of God if it is what He has chosen.
The other question is similar. Can we be strong at all without God? For example, God might not be actively bringing judgment as He did for Noah or the people of Israel. However, what if we did not have the strength of God? What if He simply decided not to be with us anymore? Could we do anything?
Joh 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
I think about this on a few levels. On one hand, this verse in particular is speaking about fruit, so that brings to mind the fruit of the spirit. We cannot do anything that will please God without the work of Jesus. However, on another level, this makes me think about the fact that God holds together the universe. He is the architect, and as easily of God created the universe, He certainly has the power to destroy it. Therefore, the second question is also safe to answer in the negative. Any strength that we have is a consequence of what God has given.
God is good all the time. He is always just and righteous. Part of that justice is the right to judge, and God does hate sin. The people of Israel were facing the prospect of having to stand against God, and it is quite clear that we simply cannot do that.