Ezekiel is to prophesy against the sanctuaries, against the land of Israel. Telling them that the Lord has drawn his sword, it is out of the sheath, and will be used to cut off both the righteous and the wicked. ALL flesh will know that "I am the Lord".
Again Ezekiel is tasked with a job. "As for you, son of man, groan; with breaking heart and bitter grief, groan before their eyes."
When the people ask him why he groans as if his heart is breaking, tell them that you groan ‘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,’”
And so Ezekiel prophesied. Can you imagine how hard that must have been for him? After seeing the visions that he had, of knowing that God's sword is coming and it's been well sharpened for slaughter.
It would have been easy (in a sad way) for him to "Cry out and wail, son of man, for it is against my people. It is against all the princes of Israel. They are delivered over to the sword with my people. Strike therefore upon your thigh. For it will not be a testing—what could it do if you despise the rod?”
But also, oh how hard. To have to clap your hand three times, knowing what that means for your people. Death, slaughter... EVEN IF it's for their good, so that they will know that God is the Lord indeed, the great I AM.
To see God's fury come down upon your people would NOT be an easy thing to witness.
Now I have to admit.... the remaining verses of this chapter are leaving me a bit stumped. Are the Babylonians and them Ammonites being used as God's sword?
OR are the Babylonians being used as the sword against both the Ammonites (for their wickedness) ... God promises they will be remembered no more. As well as against the Israelites for their willfulness against him.
It's all kinda running together in my head this morning, so I may need to return to this passage tomorrow.
Go read verses 18-32 and give me your thoughts. I'd appreciate it eh?