‘… then you shall know that I am the LORD. But I will spare some. Some of you shall escape the sword among the nations and be scattered through the countries. Those of you who escape shall remember me among the nations where they are carried captive, how I was crushed by their wanton heart that turned away from me, and their wanton eyes that turned after their idols. Then they will be loathsome in their own sight for the evils that they have committed, for all their abominations. And they shall know that I am the LORD…’ (Ezekiel 6:7b-10a. NRSV)
God’s judgement is always redemptive and restorative, it is never vindictive.
When God has to act in judgement he always does do for one reason, ‘then you shall know that I am the LORD’. God never acts in judgement lightly, it is always a last resort when nothing else will work! But when God judges we always see his mercy and grace at work as well. God will always ‘spare some’ and will keep a remnant for himself.
It is through God’s judgement that some people and nations will realise their sin and turn away from it and back to God, which is what God wants. God wants to display his mercy even if to do that he has to first act in judgement.
How does God get to this point? He has normally tried gentle correction first of all, then leaving people to the consequences of their sin, before he gets to actively judging a person or people. But he still does not judge in order to destroy completely, he normally has some saved for himself. We see this elsewhere, God saved Lot and his family from Sodom (Genesis 19), he saved Rahab and her household from Jericho (Joshua 6:17-27).
Some of the remnant will be those involved in the sins themselves, others will be those who are only guilty by being a part of the same people, but one hallmark of them will be true God-led repentance (I shall look at what I mean by this in another post sometime), when they see things and their sin from God’s perspective.
Heavenly Father, when you judge something in me help me to see that you only do so to bring me back to you, and help me to see my sin from your perspective so I may truly repent. In Jesus’ name, Amen.