IT is difficult to ignore major events swirling around us on a daily basis. Their magnitude seeks our attention, particularly when they fit the general description of prophetic events. I find myself checking world news sources each morning with the anticipation of what else happened overnight. Since we are powerless to change the course of world events, it becomes important to know how to process the information.
What did God mean when He told the angel who had the writer’s inkhorn at his side to “… put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done within it”? (Ezekiel 9:4). What is meant by “sigh and cry” and is it relevant to our response to the abominations we see around us today? Certainly, Ezekiel’s context was Jerusalem and the temple, but sighing and crying represents an attitude that must have timeless dimensions for God’s people. Christ, who is the One speaking here, is the same then and now.
We know with hindsight that over the years we have witnessed some very unbalanced responses to biblical prophecy. The Apostle Peter warned the Church about false prophets and false teachers who would bring in destructive heresies. He was clearly referring to those who would add to the scriptures their own personal interpretations.
However, he also encouraged members to take heed of the “prophetic word confirmed” (2 Peter 1:19). Peter linked prophecy to a light that shines in a dark place, illuminating a deeper understanding of Christ and His life within us, “… until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts” (2 Peter 1:19). Along similar lines, the Apostle Paul wrote, “For it is God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6).
The clear implication is a growing spiritual awareness of the times in which we live relative to a relationship with Christ and anticipation of His return. This is for our personal motivation. We internalize a sense of urgency that has no set time factor. To sigh and cry is a reference to an attitude: “… in themselves, as men in pain and distress” (Matthew Henry Commentary). They took their anguish at what was happening to God in personal prayer and imploration.
We must resist allowing world events to desensitize us such that we become casual due to constant bombardment. Human suffering is increasing and the need for Christ to return is becoming more urgent. We need a David-like attitude where he said, “Rivers of water run down from my eyes, because men do not keep Your law” (Psalm 119:136). Let us sigh and cry for the abominations that are done.