“Also I raised My hand in an oath to those in the wilderness, that I would scatter them among the Gentiles and disperse them throughout the countries, because they had not executed My judgments, but had despised My statutes, profaned My Sabbaths, and their eyes were fixed on their fathers’ idols.”
When God rescued Israel from slavery in Egypt, He reminded them of His Sabbath through the miracle of the manna, even before He gave them the stone tablets inscribed with the 10 Commandments ( Exodus 16:4-5 , 22-31). But from the first some of them profaned God’s Sabbath, and Ezekiel here recounts that they continued to profane God’s weekly and annual Sabbaths.
In Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 God taught the principle of cause and effect. He promised blessings for obedience and warned of the curses that would come because of disobedience to His commandments, including the Sabbath commandment. For centuries He patiently gave His people warnings and additional chances to repent, but eventually He did scatter them among the gentiles. First the northern 10 tribes of the house of Israel were deported by the Assyrians, then during Ezekiel’s time the southern tribes of the house of Judah were taken captive by the Babylonians.
God’s cause-and-effect principle is still active. Breaking His commandments, including not remembering to treat His Sabbath as holy, will still eventually lead to curses. Ezekiel’s message remains a warning to us in the 21st century.
Many today are confused about what the Bible teaches about the Sabbath and about what day it is. See “Was the Sabbath Changed to Sunday?” for more on this subject.