By Benjamin H. Liles
Being as devout as I am as a follower of Christ, doing all I can to honor Him above all, getting further into His word isn't always easy or pleasant, especially when it comes to what God says about who will receive rewards and those who receive His punishment. With that said, there are some verses and chapters within Ezekiel that are hard and harsh, but God has the divine right to deal with those who dealt harshly towards His people of Israel.
To start with, God comes to Ezekiel telling him to "prophesy and say, 'Thus says the Lord God," and the pronouncement begins by listing Egypt and her allies, both ancient as well as current. How current i do not know for sure, I couldn't find a good answer on that. What can be seen is that God is against Egypt, the lands of Put, Cush, Lydia (Lud), and Kub (Arabia?). No matter the Bible version these are the names mentioned alongside Egypt that have drawn God's ire and justice.
Why? When we look at the Exodus record there are two different Pharaohs involved in making things hard on the Israelites who are numerous within Egyptian lands. In their mindset Israel is so numerous, that if they don't make things hard on the Israelites, they just might wise up and rise up against their Egyptian overseers. If anything, they were putting fear and some rebellion in the hearts of those men they enslaved. It was a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy on that part.
On the other side of it is that if it weren't for Egypt's leaders, especially Pharaoh doing this, it wouldn't have put a resolve within the heart of God to spare His children Israel from further devastation, loss, and continuing harm. I recommend reading Exodus to see what I mean by that. Their first deliverer was a man who was saved by an Israelite woman who hid her baby boy in a basket, setting it downstream to where Pharaoh's daughter would find him and raise the child as her own (His name would end up as Moses, as she "drew" him out of the water).
If Moses is one type of deliverer bringing Israel out of the house of bondage, which is Egypt, then it stands that Jesus Christ is the "Deliverer" God had in mind to "bring His people, both Jews and Gentiles (now called Christ's body, the Church)" to salvation in Him. But the overall arching narrative here in Ezekiel 30 is that God dispenses justice and judgment on nations who have dealt harshly and wrongly on His people Israel. It's a theme that plays out all over scripture.
God does this thing to these nations, He says, to "execute judgments on Egypt, then they shall know that I am the LORD" (Ezekiel 30:19, New King James). I think that's the reason He acts the way He does. He judges and renders justice on those who do wrong to others, and then relents because He sees that His rod has produced a change in the hearts of those He has rebuked and chastised. What does scripture say about this? "The LORD disciplines those He loves, as a father the son in whom he delights" (Proverbs 3:12, Berean Study).
God is a God of love. Whether we choose to see that or not, He truly is. He has the right to deal with us as He pleases. If God says He is holy and that He detests sin, He will do what He has to in order we see sin for what it is, "Utterly sinful," as Paul describes it (see Romans 7:13). But God in His wisdom and in His love demonstrates His justice and His mercy in this, that they who receive His counsel and guidance are given the right to become children of God through the Messiah Jesus. I write this to both encourage and to show that God isn't just a God who judges, but He bears with us, desiring we come to repentance; for as He said through Peter (yet again), "[I am] patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish but EVERYONE to come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9, Berean Study).
This means idolaters, those who have once been involved with witchcraft, hate, sexual immorality, all kinds of impurities, all sorts of sins have a way to come to Jesus the Messiah, having their sins forgiven so they can come before the God who grants and gives peace to those who willingly and honestly seek Him with their whole hearts. On that note, I pray this finds you well, that you are built up and encouraged to ask God to show Him where you lack, to show you His will, in order that you become His child. In the name of Jesus I pray and write this. Amen.