(Today’s post by Chris Queen)
These days, so many voices are calling for tolerance. In some circles, it’s not enough to accept people for who they are; we’re now expected to approve of everything they do. How many times have we heard celebrities declare, “only God can judge me” when they do something controversial? Tolerance is one thing, but when tolerance leads to acceptance of sin, we need to watch out.
In chapter 9, Ezekiel witnessed God’s judgment against Israel’s sin. God’s agents carried out unspeakable slaughter to rid His people of vile disobedience:
1 Then I heard him call out in a loud voice, “Bring near those who are appointed to execute judgment on the city, each with a weapon in his hand.” 2 And I saw six men coming from the direction of the upper gate, which faces north, each with a deadly weapon in his hand. With them was a man clothed in linen who had a writing kit at his side. They came in and stood beside the bronze altar.
3 Now the glory of the God of Israel went up from above the cherubim, where it had been, and moved to the threshold of the temple. Then the Lord called to the man clothed in linen who had the writing kit at his side 4 and said to him, “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.”
5 As I listened, he said to the others, “Follow him through the city and kill, without showing pity or compassion. 6 Slaughter the old men, the young men and women, the mothers and children, but do not touch anyone who has the mark. Begin at my sanctuary.” So they began with the old men who were in front of the temple.
God had the men mark all those who “grieve and lament” the sins of the Israelites. I’m sure there were people among the 12 tribes who didn’t commit these awful sins but looked the other way at those who did. The Lord made no distinction between those who sinned and those who let it happen. The only designation made was to save those who mourned the state of Israel, who regretted how far God’s chosen people had fallen. It got so bad that God’s glory physically departed from the temple – and that’s as bad as it can get!
Here’s the bottom line: sin is sin is sin is sin – always has been, always will be. Yes, we’re supposed to love others no matter what, and no, we’re not to judge others. But we cannot turn a blind eye to sin, because doing so can lead to others’ destruction. God has no tolerance for tolerance of sin.