“Speak to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God: ‘Behold, I will profane My sanctuary, your arrogant boast, the desire of your eyes, the delight of your soul; and your sons and daughters whom you left behind shall fall by the sword.
‘And you shall do as I have done; you shall not cover your lips nor eat man’s bread of sorrow.
‘Your turban shall be on your heads and your sandals on your feet; you shall neither mourn nor weep, but you shall pine away in your iniquities and mourn with one another’ ” (Ezekiel 24:21-23).
When the people plead with Ezekiel to explain to them why he goes on with his life after his wife dies instead of honoring her and mourning properly, he gives the explanation found in these verses.
The real message of the situation is to the rebellious and disobedient inhabitants of Jerusalem. They will have the “desire of your eyes” taken away: this metaphor refers to the city of Jerusalem, which they hold precious. Their city along with their lives within her will all be taken away. And their sons and their daughters—whom they love—will die by the sword.
And when these calamities happen, they are not allowed to lament. They are to follow Ezekiel’s example—they are to go on with their lives and not eat “man’s bread of sorrow.” They are to dress as usual and not mourn. But they are rather to mourn for their sins—there’s the lesson.