Sighing And Crying
As the glory of Jehovah was preparing to depart from the temple in Jerusalem, Ezekiel hears the Lord speaking thus to a man clothed with linen, with a writer’s inkhorn by his side: “Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that are done in the midst thereof”, (Ez. 9: 4). Having done that, others were instructed to “Go after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have pity. Slay utterly the old man, the young man, and the maiden, and little children, and women; but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary”, (vv 5, 6).
The day in which it was Ezekiel’s lot to prophecy was very dark. Earlier, (in chapter 8), he had been shown the terrible abominations of Jerusalem––so appalling that in the inner court of Jehovah’s house men were worshipping the Sun! How precious then to God must have been those that sighed and that cried! To God they must have stood out like gold dust in that bleak and desolate scene. Are not our hearts reminded of the words of another prophet: “And they shall be unto me a peculiar treasure, saith Jehovah of hosts, in the day that I prepare; and I will spare them as a man spareth his own son that serveth him”, (Mal. 3: 17). What about you? Do you sigh and cry for the abominations of Christendom?
These saints had no power to change things in Jerusalem. Like Christendom now, Jerusalem was bent on its mad and unstoppable course to judgement. They could but sigh and cry. And God heard them! The quiet weeping in the chamber, the anguished prayer upon the rooftop, the distressed cry in the street––God heard it all and set His mark upon them. This was not merely judging something to be wrong, but feeling the affront to God. The head can judge, but it is the heart that feels.
A sigh is the expression of weary sadness. Crying indicates that the emotions can no longer be controlled, and the anguish of soul becomes audible. These were men whose hearts had been broken by the scenes around them. Again the question comes: What about you and me in our day? Is your heart affected by the state of that which claims the name of Christ? Or is your heart as lukewarm as the day in which we live?
In another day we find Paul speaking of “the enemies of the cross of Christ”, (Phil. 3: 18), but as he speaks, he is weeping. The Lord Himself as He drew near to Jerusalem on that final journey, wept over the city, (Luke 19: 41). Need we say more? To quote the weeping prophet himself, are these things “nothing to you”? (Lam. 1: 12).