For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live!
Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign Lord. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?
All these verses come from Ezekiel chapter 18.
“If a wicked person turns away from all the sins they have committed and keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right, that person will surely live; they will not die. None of the offenses they have committed will be remembered against them. Because of the righteous things they have done, they will live. Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign Lord. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?"
“But if a righteous person turns from their righteousness and commits sin and does the same detestable things the wicked person does, will they live? None of the righteous things that person has done will be remembered. Because of the unfaithfulness they are guilty of and because of the sins they have committed, they will die."
“Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ Hear, you Israelites: Is my way unjust? Is it not your ways that are unjust?"
“Therefore, you Israelites, I will judge each of you according to your own ways, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, people of Israel? For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live!"
What sins were these people committing?
God told Ezekiel, “The sin of the people of Israel and Judah is exceedingly great; the land is full of bloodshed and the city is full of injustice."
Murder, theft and injustice in the courts was widespread. God said, "Must they also fill the land with violence and continually arouse my anger?"
The worst sin was sacrificing their own babies and children to idols. They burned them alive.
“ ‘And you took your sons and daughters whom you bore to me and sacrificed them as food to the idols. Was your prostitution not enough? You slaughtered my children and sacrificed them to the idols." Chapter 16
Jeremiah, who lived at the same time spoke of this,
"For they have forsaken me and made this a place of foreign gods; they have burned incense in it to gods that neither they nor their ancestors nor the kings of Judah ever knew, and they have filled this place with the blood of the innocent. They have built the high places of Baal to burn their children in the fire as offerings to Baal—something I did not command or mention, nor did it enter my mind." Chapter 19
The punishment for these people was God allowing the King of Babylon to come and take captives and then destroy their country. Those who were captive or those who defected to the King of Babylon were allowed to live. God told them that many times. He warned them over and over.
The result of this punishment was that Israel as a people never worshiped idols again. God returned them to their land and to their city of Jerusalem. God said many, many times in both Jeremiah and Ezekiel that this punishment would result in Israel knowing God as their God. He said that after their captivity in Babylon, "Then shall they know that I am the LORD."
So, why does God punish people? I think many reasons. He wants them to wake up and realize what they are doing is wrong. They are hurting people. He wants them to live forever with him in heaven, but he cannot take them if they love doing evil. They would still want to do evil in heaven. He must sometimes rid the world of people who love violence. He does this to protect the other people of the world who love peace.