Read Ezekiel 9 today.

When I first read this chapter of Ezekiel’s vision, I wrestled with some of the imagery as it seems brutal. So, I read it through several times. While we could focus on the judgment, it seems to me that God’s judgment and God’s mercy go hand in hand. He sent a person into the city to identify those whose faith and trust was in God, those who were offended by idolatry. All who sought God were spared.
What we have is that God drew a line, and each person decided on which side of the line they would stand. There were consequences based on the choices of the individual.
The same thing is true today. There are consequences to our choices and our actions. An example might be jumping out of a fourth floor window. We have the freedom to choose whether or not to jump, but once we jump the consequence of potential injury is mostly out of our hands. The is a consequence. And, it seems inappropriate to blame the creator of gravity for the injuries we experience as a result of our choices.
Some choices and consequences are more significant than others. One of the things we can take away from this chapter is that the choice of idolatry has significant and lasting consequences. We would do well to keep that in mind.
One other thought. Something that is not communicated in this chapter is God’s desire. While God does initiate the consequence, my sense, from the whole of scripture, is that God’s desire was that as the executioners walked through Jerusalem, they would find every forehead marked. God’s desire is that none would choose to be on the side of the line where the consequence is death.
Ezekiel 9:3-6 NLT
Then the glory of the God of Israel rose up from between the cherubim, where it had rested, and moved to the entrance of the Temple. And the LORD called to the man dressed in linen who was carrying the writer’s case. [4] He said to him, “Walk through the streets of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of all who weep and sigh because of the detestable sins being committed in their city.”
[5] Then I heard the LORD say to the other men, “Follow him through the city and kill everyone whose forehead is not marked. Show no mercy; have no pity! [6] Kill them all-old and young, girls and women and little children. But do not touch anyone with the mark. Begin right here at the Temple.” So they began by killing the seventy leaders.