August 29: Ezekiel 9-12
14 And the word of the Lord came to me: 15 “Son of man, your brothers, even your brothers, your kinsmen, the whole house of Israel, all of them, are those of whom the inhabitants of Jerusalem have said, ‘Go far from the Lord; to us this land is given for a possession.’ 16 Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: Though I removed them far off among the nations, and though I scattered them among the countries, yet I have been a sanctuary to them for a while in the countries where they have gone.’ 17 Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: I will gather you from the peoples and assemble you out of the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.’ 18 And when they come there, they will remove from it all its detestable things and all its abominations. 19 And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, 20 that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God. 21 But as for those whose heart goes after their detestable things and their abominations, I will bring their deeds upon their own heads, declares the Lord God.”
Ezekiel 11:10, 11b-12a, 14-21
If you have read very many of my devotions, you know that I often speak of Christianity as being a religion of the heart. We may often paint our outward appearance in beautiful colors, but in the end our true heart will come out in our actions. Luke 6:45 states it this way:
The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
Arguments, dissension, disagreements, strife, backbiting, tension--can you think of any more synonyms which aptly display the reality of life all around us? Our leaders often speak of world peace, but where is peace in all of this?
Such was the case in Ezekiel's day; the leaders encouraged the people to go far away from the Lord. "This land is ours, not God's!" they cried to the people. Such rebellion was the cause of their being dispersed to the nations around them.
But, our God is a gracious God, filled with compassion, as we see in verses 16-20 shown above. He promises that the time will come when He will again gather the Jewish people from out of the nations to return to Jerusalem. And then what?
19 And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, 20 that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God.
The Jewish people have returned to their own land and declared themselves a nation in 1948. Just as that part of the prophecy has been fulfilled, so will verses 19 and 20 be fulfilled as well. The time will come when all Christians will truly have one heart; instead of conflict and quarreling in the church, we will finally see eternal unity in Christ.
In some ways I think that this spirit of one heart and one mind will be one of the greatest miracles ever!
Go ahead and dust off your outward appearance, but remember, the most important thing is your heart. Will you be numbered with those who will have one heart with Christ?
God Bless You,
All Scriptures are from the English Standard Version of the Bible.