Ezekiel 9 records the prophet's vision of the marking of those "who sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done" (Ezekiel 9:4) and the slaying of all those who do not (Ezekiel 9:5-7). God explains to Ezekiel, "The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is exceedingly great, and the land is full of bloodshed, and the city full of perversity; for they say, 'The LORD has forsaken the land, and the LORD does not see!'" (Ezekiel 9:9). What does it mean to "sigh and cry"?

The Hebrew word for "sigh" is 'ânah, which means "to sigh, groan, or gasp." The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament comments, "Ezekiel's references point to exercise of heart on the part of those who sighed over Israel's desperate spiritual condition." "Cry" is translated from 'ânaq, which literally means "to shriek" but is used of crying, groaning, or lamenting. These nearly identical sounding words mean much the same thing. The difference is that sighing is inward, while crying is an outward expressing of our inner grief.

Are we saddened to see what has become of our country and its people? Do we "cry out" against the ravages of sin among our family and friends? Or, sadly, have we become inured to it, calloused by constant contact with it, or even apathetic about it? If Ezekiel 9 is any indication, it is time to let God know where we stand.