As for you, son of man, groan with breaking heart and bitter grief, groan before their eyes. And when they say to you, “Why do you groan?” You shall say, “Because of the news that it is coming. Every heart will melt and all hands will be feeble. Every spirit will faint and all knees will be weak as water. Behold, it is coming and it will be fulfilled declares the Lord, God.
– Ezekiel 21:6–7
Huh? What a picture. What a chapter. Ezekiel 21 is prophesying of God’s wrath that is real. And God’s wrath that is coming upon rebellious, sinful men and women. No one can stand before God and his holy wrath. You can’t. I can’t no one in the world can. We all need his grace and his mercy which he has made possible for us in Jesus.
Romans 3, God has presented Jesus as a sacrifice of atonement through faith in his blood. In other words, Jesus has made a way for the wrath of God to be turned aside from us. He has taken the judgment we deserve upon himself on a cross so that we could be saved from our sin. He has, to use language from Ezekiel 21, suffered the sword in our place.
Ezekiel 21:6–7 Reminds Us the Wrath of God is Coming
And so as recipients of this, grace, what do we do? Well, God tells Ezekiel here as a recipient of his grace, obviously not knowing the fullness of the gospel, God tells Ezekiel to groan with a breaking heart and with bitter grief to groan because he knows what’s coming. He knows the wrath of God is coming. For all who’ve not received the grace of God and repented of sin.
And the same is true today. There are people all around us who have not received the grace of God, who’ve not repented of sin. There are people all around the world, people groups around the world, who’ve not even heard the good news of God’s grace. God, we groan today. God teach us to groan like this.
Ezekiel 21:6–7 Helps Us Experience Bitter Grief
Break our hearts. Help us to experience the bitter grief that you caused Ezekiel to experience. Help us not to go through this life casually, ignoring the reality that your wrath is real and your wrath is coming for people who we will see today and tomorrow, to people all around us, people all around the world, to groups to 3 billion people who have never even heard the good news of your grace in Jesus, because they’ve not been reached by the gospel.
God, we pray use each of our lives to change that. God break our hearts for the lost around us, help us to faithfully share the gospel today, tomorrow with people who don’t know you. Help us to groan for their spiritual condition, to have hearts that break for them, and to share within the good news that though your wrath is coming, salvation is possible. God help us to speak this in our schools, in our workplaces, in our neighborhoods, wherever we go today. And God, we pray you to help us to speak this around the world. God make us so discontent with 3 billion people having never heard the gospel.
Praying for the Zarma People of Niger
We pray for the Zarma people of Niger today, 4.8 million of them in this Muslim people group where they also worship spirits and magic and cults. God, we pray that the good news of your grace would go to the Zarma. God we pray that somebody, you would raise up laborers for this harvest field, that the gospel would go to them. That you would open their eyes to your salvation from sin, that your salvation from judgment is available through Jesus.
God, pray for the Zarma of Niger. And thousands of other people, groups like them. God pray that your gospel, your grace, your good news would spread today. Right where we live and to the ends of the Earth, through your people who groan with breaking hearts and bitter grief over the people around us who need your grace. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.