Ezekiel's God is really big on judgment—it's his most essential, defining jam. Since the people keep disobeying his laws and pursuing other gods, God decides to hit them with wave after wave of judgment and wrath. Before things get any better, they need to get way, way worse. But God's justice isn't only about making people suffer for their sins, it also seems to help rehabilitate them, preparing the ground for their triumphant return and restoration to goodness and glory.
Ezekiel himself suffers, almost like a kind of voodoo doll, all the pains that Israel itself will undergo: he's an individual who exemplifies God's judgments on the nations. It's an "I feel your pain" kind of situation. His wife dies, he has to eat Ezekiel bread laying on his side, etc. All of these things represent the harsh judgments that the House of Israel will face.
Questions About Justice and Judgment
To what extent is God's justice about retribution and to what extent is it about rehabilitation? Do you think justice should be more about retribution or rehabilitation?
Does God go overboard in punishing his people? Is it all justly deserved?
What sins do you think deserved most punishment?
Is it fair that Ezekiel himself needs to suffer so much?