Ezek. 20:1-21:17; 22:1-22
It is surely a lonely feeling to be rejected by God. The elders of Israel/Judah went to Ezekiel asking to inquire of the Lord. They were possibly somewhat concerned because of the many negative prophecies that they had heard or they may have been merely attempting to test the prophet. God’s response was, “…As I live, I will not be inquired of by you.” He then proceeded to review the reasons that He had withdrawn from His people. They had rebelled against him by refusing to obey His statutes and by following after other gods. He was ready to execute his punishment upon them. However, after the period of punishing exile, they would be returned in humility to their homeland.
The Lord continued to speak to Ezekiel and described the events that would soon take place. Babylon’s battle against Judah was seen as a sharp and shining sword slaughtering both the wicked and the righteous. All flesh from north to south would be under God’s wrath. When the righteous associate with the wicked, they are all subjected to the same dangers.
Just as God had described the sins of the Judean nation, He called out the bloody city of Jerusalem. They had been guilty of the same brutal immorality as their neighbors in the country. A silversmith casts raw ore into a furnace to extract impure dross from the precious metal. Likewise, Jerusalem would be refined in the furnace of exile to bring her into the purity of repentance.