And it came to pass, while they were slaying them, and I was left, that I fell on my face, and cried, and said…
In every age good men have felt an internal constraint to intercede for the guilty. Love to God always produces love to men.
I. INTERCESSION FOR THE GUILTY IS PRAISEWORTHY. Ezekiel felt that, though surrounded by the slain, his own life had been spared. A proper sense of God's compassion to us awakens similar compassion for others. It is a noble sentiment, and God does not discourage it. It sheds a blessing in the breast of him who cherishes it. Abraham, Moses, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Paul, are notable examples of earnest intercessors for their fellows.
II. INTERCESSION FOR THE GUILTY SHOULD BE MADE IN GREAT HUMILITY. Ezekiel "fell upon his face." This was most seemly. For, on the surface of our appeal, it would seem as if an imperfect man were more possessed with pity than is God. Yet this can never be. The tiny rill can never rise higher than the fount. One beam of light can never outvie the sun. Nor can we suppose that any element of extenuation has been overlooked by the comprehensive mind of God. In fact. reflection at such time is quiescent; the intercessor yields for the moment to the impulse of feeling. Nevertheless, intercession is proper and becoming; for who can tell but that God has predetermined to grant delay or reprieve on condition that intercession be made? We must stoop if we would conquer.
III. INTERCESSION FOR THE GUILTY MUST ALWAYS BE SUBORDINATE TO THE INTERESTS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. The prophet evidently had due regard to the honour of God, while he sought a reprieve for men. To blot out the very nation which he had aforetime so protected and blessed, would (in the eyes of the heathen) have been a dishonour. But the approval of the good among angels and among men was more precious, deserved more consideration, than the opinion of idolatrous nations. The well being of the universe is intertwined with the maintenance of righteousness; and, at all costs, righteousness must be upheld. Already God had provided fur the safety of the faithful few; but to the eye of the prophet the few seemed as nothing. Yet, if we had larger faith, we should have less anxiety for the Church's weal.
IV. INTERCESSION, THOUGH APPARENTLY UNSUCCESSFUL, BRINGS SOME ADVANTAGE. Though Abraham, in pleading for Sodom, was apparently unsuccessful, he was not really so. No prayer is fruitless. God was not displeased with Ezekiel's intercession. He condescended to reason with him. He showed him yet more clearly the magnitude of Israel's sin. He showed him how that, if he did not destroy evil men, the evil men in Israel would slay the pious: "The land is full of blood." He impressed on the prophet's heart yet more deeply the sanctity of law and equity. The severest punishment was simply "recompense" - their proper wages. By such intercession the prophet is the better equipped for his future work. - D.
Parallel VersesKJV: And it came to pass, while they were slaying them, and I was left, that I fell upon my face, and cried, and said, Ah Lord GOD! wilt thou destroy all the residue of Israel in thy pouring out of thy fury upon Jerusalem?
WEB: It happened, while they were smiting, and I was left, that I fell on my face, and cried, and said, Ah Lord Yahweh! will you destroy all the residue of Israel in your pouring out of your wrath on Jerusalem?