1 The word of the LORD came to me:
2 “Son of man, set your face against the mountains of Israel; prophesy against them
3 and say: ‘You mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Sovereign LORD. This is what the Sovereign LORD says to the mountains and hills, to the ravines and valleys: I am about to bring a sword against you, and I will destroy your high places.
4 Your altars will be demolished and your incense altars will be smashed; and I will slay your people in front of your idols.
5 I will lay the dead bodies of the Israelites in front of their idols, and I will scatter your bones around your altars.
6 Wherever you live, the towns will be laid waste and the high places demolished, so that your altars will be laid waste and devastated, your idols smashed and ruined, your incense altars broken down, and what you have made wiped out.
7 Your peoples will fall slain among you, and you will know that I am the LORD.
8 “But I will spare some, for some of you will escape the sword when you are scattered amoung the lands and nations.
9 Then in the nations where they have been carried captive, those who escape will remember me–how I have been grieved by their adulterous hearts. which have turned away from me, and by their eyes, which have lusted after idols. They will loathe themselves for the evil they have done and for all their detestable practices.
10 And they will know that I am the LORD; I did not threaten in vain to bring this calamity on them.
11 “‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Strike your hands together and stamp your feet and cry out “Alas!” because of all the wicked and detestable practices of the people of Israel, for they will fall by the sword, famine and plague.
12 One who is far away will die of the plague, and one who is near will fall by the sword, and anyone who survives and is spared will die of famine. So will I pour out my wrath on them.
13 And they will know that I am the LORD, when their people lie slain among their idols around their altars, on every high hill and on all the mountaintops, under every spreading tree and every leafy oak–places where they offered fragrant incense to all their idols.
14 And I will stretch out my hand against them and make the land a desolate waste from the desert to Diblah–wherever they live. Then they will know that I am the LORD.'”
The Lord hates idols. When someone who is to represent the Lord (i.e. Christians) has idols it provokes the Lord to anger. It can lead to the Lord destroying the idol and the person who worships the idol.
In today’s world we rarely, if ever, portray the Lord as a being with anger or fury. We only describe him in a positive light, focusing on his love, mercy, care, guidance, and forgiveness. We try to make it seem as though God is incapable of anger. Some of us are at the point where we believe that God should not have anger at all. Why is this the case? It is because we want to serve a God who serves our purpose. We want God to be full of love and mercy so that our sins are covered and forgiven but we don’t want to face the consequences of our sin. However, this is not how it works. Every sin must be accounted for and every sin will be judged accordingly.
Have we been forgiven? Yes. However, that does not relieve us from the receipt of consequences. Consequences are the result of any action that we take, whether good or bad. Just because our sins were forgiven does not mean that we don’t have to face the result of our actions. If we overeat and live like a glutton then we will have to deal will obesity and its health problems. If we drink excessively we will have to deal with the resulting health problems. If we smoke, we will have to deal with the resulting health problems. On the positive side of things, if we exercise, we will enjoy the benefits of a healthy, good-looking body. If we work hard, we will reap the fruit of our labor. If we study hard, we will gain more knowledge that may benefit our futures. Whether good or bad, each action will have a result.
This is what the Israelites faced. They sinned. They committed a very severe sin against God. Not just once, but for hundreds of years they repeated the same sin over and over. God finally decided to give them their judgement. Imagine that you have a young child, whom you’ve taught to clean their room. They know it is their responsibility to clean their room, and in the beginning their room is always clean. As time goes by, however it begins to get dirty. You patiently wait to see if they clean it. More time has passed so you decide to give them a warning. They say, “Okay” and go along with their day. You come the next day and their room is still not cleaned. This pattern continues and you get more and more frustrated. Why are you frustrated? Because you asked them to clean their room, not only once but many times. Because they disobeyed your command for them to clean their room. They disobeyed your instruction, disregarded your warnings, and purposefully chose not to do as you asked. On top of that, the only reason you asked them to keep their room clean is so that they become adults who know how to take care of their responsibilities. The only reason you asked them to do this is to benefit them in the future. If it continues you cannot help but to discipline your child. This is what the sins of Israel has resulted in. It has reached a point in which God has no choice but to discipline them so that they return to “cleaning their room”.
God surely does love you. He loves you enough to send his son to this earth to die for your sins. He loves you enough to raise his son from the dead and show you that you no longer have to be chained down by sin. However, if you disobey his commands repeatedly and purposefully you will have to face the consequences of your actions. Your actions determine the outcome. Do good, love God, obey his commands, and live a fruitful life. If you have had warnings, heed them, turn back, repent, and follow God once again. He punishes because he loves you and wants the best for you. He knows you best.