The society in Israel had become compromised, corrupt and forgetful of God. Ezekiel was God’s mouthpiece to point out to them just how far they had regressed into worldliness, and what the divine consequences of that regression would be. Of course not everyone in Israel had driven headlong into the same excess of sin. But many of those who resisted the overt forms of compromise were about to be evaluated on what seems to be an unconventional form of “godliness” – i.e., whether they sighed and groaned.
In dramatic fashion God reveals his strategy in Ezekiel 9. He would separate those who “sighed and groaned” over the sin in their society from those who didn’t. The men and women who were internally disturbed by the moral corruption were to be spared, and those who shrugged their shoulders at it weren’t. We may not often see it this way, but when we sigh over the transgressions of our culture we are revealing the state of our heart. Realize that some don’t follow the crowd into sin because they are cowards, others because they are heartbroken over it. Some applaud the godless in our society because they are afraid not to, they fear being “out of step.” Others cross their arms and groan because their hearts are in step with the Holy Spirit.
So the next time you sigh or groan over the sin in our world don’t see it as a weakness in your character, but rather as a strength and an indication of the progress of your sanctification.