I have been reading books in the Old Testament for months now. With each one I read I state to myself “ok after this book I’m going back to the New Testament as I feel I need to for some reason.” However, once I finish the book I’m in, I start glancing at the next book and think “ok, I’ll just read this next one and then move on.” This is now the 4th time I’ve done that! I’m in Ezekiel and I found a great passage. It doesn’t mince words about sin and how it’s viewed by God and witnessed by others yet profoundly illustrates the fullness of God’s redemption and restoration. Although this passage was initially written to give hope to the Israelites who were experiencing the great punishment for their sins, I believe God wants us to draw out or lean on the promises He made to them from these passages and take them as our own during times of consequences brought on by our individual sins. The following is based off of Ezekiel 36:21-38. The words in brackets are mine.
“You have disgraced my holy name among [those around you]where you now live. So you don’t deserve what I’m going to do for you. I will lead you home [and restore you] to bring honor to My name and to show [those around you] that I am holy. Then they will know that I am the Lord God. I have spoken.
I will gather you [from where you sinned] and bring you home. I will sprinkle you with clean water, and you will be clean and acceptable to Me. I will wash away everything that makes you unclean, and I will remove [those disgusting ‘idols’ that you chose over Me]. I will take away your stubborn heart and give you a new heart and a desire to be faithful. You will have only pure thoughts, because I will put my Spirit in you and make you eager to obey My laws and teachings. You will once again live in [the place where I promised for you]; you will be My [child] and I will be your God.
I will protect you from anything that makes you unclean. Your [provisions] will overflow, and no one will starve. Your [efforts will be blessed], so that you will never again feel ashamed for not having [what you need]. You will remember your evil ways and hate yourselves for what you’ve done. [My child], I’m not doing these things for your sake. You sinned against Me, and you will suffer shame and disgrace for what you have done. I, the Lord God, have spoken.
After I have made you clean, I will let you rebuild [what has been ruined] and let you [use it for good]. You [will have purpose again], and nobody will be able to see that it was once barren[and without hope]. Instead, they will say that it looks as beautiful as the garden of Eden. They won’t see [the former ruins, a life in destruction], but they will see your [life that God is using for good and is prosperous]. Then [those who have witnessed all that has happened] will know that I am the one who rebuilt the ruined [homes] and [replenished what had been taken away]. I, the Lord, make this promise.
I will answer your prayers, and I will let [you have a rich life]. [What now lies in ruins will once again prosper]. Then you will know that I am the Lord.”
I think that is fantastic! It is so pertinent and striking! Some of the words that God has clearly spoken here seemed harsh to me at first; however as I learn about His holiness and having a better understanding about His great love for me, makes me understand His words more completely.
“Thank you God for your truth. Thank you that your Word is living and is as applicable today as it was 2800 years ago. You are worthy of all praise!” Amen.