Today: [Ezekiel 36] Finally, Some Good News! In Ez. 36 after much chastisement, judgment and woe, the Father pours out through Ezekiel’s lips a promise of clemency, blessing and transformation that is so breathtaking that its scope reaches down to our own lives and is in fact the basis of the salvation that we enjoy.
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[Eze 36:1-38 KJV] 1 Also, thou son of man, prophesy unto the mountains of Israel, and say, Ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of the LORD: 2 Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because the enemy hath said against you, Aha, even the ancient high places are ours in possession: 3 Therefore prophesy and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because they have made [you] desolate, and swallowed you up on every side, that ye might be a possession unto the residue of the heathen, and ye are taken up in the lips of talkers, and [are] an infamy of the people: 4 Therefore, ye mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord GOD; Thus saith the Lord GOD to the mountains, and to the hills, to the rivers, and to the valleys, to the desolate wastes, and to the cities that are forsaken, which became a prey and derision to the residue of the heathen that [are] round about; 5 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Surely in the fire of my jealousy have I spoken against the residue of the heathen, and against all Idumea, which have appointed my land into their possession with the joy of all [their] heart, with despiteful minds, to cast it out for a prey. 6 Prophesy therefore concerning the land of Israel, and say unto the mountains, and to the hills, to the rivers, and to the valleys, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I have spoken in my jealousy and in my fury, because ye have borne the shame of the heathen: 7 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; I have lifted up mine hand, Surely the heathen that [are] about you, they shall bear their shame. 8 But ye, O mountains of Israel, ye shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to my people of Israel; for they are at hand to come. 9 For, behold, I [am] for you, and I will turn unto you, and ye shall be tilled and sown: 10 And I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, [even] all of it: and the cities shall be inhabited, and the wastes shall be builded: 11 And I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and bring fruit: and I will settle you after your old estates, and will do better [unto you] than at your beginnings: and ye shall know that I [am] the LORD. 12 Yea, I will cause men to walk upon you, [even] my people Israel; and they shall possess thee, and thou shalt be their inheritance, and thou shalt no more henceforth bereave them [of men]. 13 Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because they say unto you, Thou [land] devourest up men, and hast bereaved thy nations; 14 Therefore thou shalt devour men no more, neither bereave thy nations any more, saith the Lord GOD. 15 Neither will I cause [men] to hear in thee the shame of the heathen any more, neither shalt thou bear the reproach of the people any more, neither shalt thou cause thy nations to fall any more, saith the Lord GOD.
Chapter 36 begins with Ezekiel at Chebar in the north, in captivity, prophesying to the mountains of Israel. Notice he isn’t prophesying to the ruins of Jerusalem. Neither is he prophesying to the leveled and destroyed temple. He is prophesying to the mountains and the high places where the idolatry that led to Israel’s destruction had its roots. When Balak sought Balaam the prophet to prophesy against Israel, it couldn’t be done. Balaam could not curse what God had blessed. However, Balaam counseled Balak to seduce the people of God to commit whoredoms against God through pagan worship – knowing that if the people gave themselves over to idolatry they would destroy themselves. This was the beginning of a long history of idolatry, debauchery and sin committed in the high places and eventually even in the streets of Jerusalem and the temple itself. This was compounded from generation to generation because what we allow in moderation our children, the next generation will take to excess.
The word of the Lord to these high places where the shame of Israel was born is that God will redeem the high places and that they would be no more desolate. What the enemy had sought to defile and destroy would be restored and reclaimed by God who would establish His holiness in the very places where blasphemy had been practiced by the people as a form of worship. Verse 9 promises that the branches of the people of God would be restored and that fruit to the people of Israel would once again enrich them and bring increase. Verse 11 promises that the old estates now in ruin would be brought again to the owners thereof and established anew.
We can read this and know that it has implications not only for Israel, now reestablished as a nation since 1948, but for us as well because Israel is the shadow of which the church is the substance, according to Col. 2:17. You may feel that you have irrevocably lost and experienced devastation from which there seems absolutely no recovery but as has been said before – God is the God of the second chance. Never rule out in your human, limited thinking what God can and will restore beyond your finite capacity to conceive in your most lofty hopes!
16 Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 17 Son of man, when the house of Israel dwelt in their own land, they defiled it by their own way and by their doings: their way was before me as the uncleanness of a removed woman. 18 Wherefore I poured my fury upon them for the blood that they had shed upon the land, and for their idols [wherewith] they had polluted it: 19 And I scattered them among the heathen, and they were dispersed through the countries: according to their way and according to their doings I judged them. 20 And when they entered unto the heathen, whither they went, they profaned my holy name, when they said to them, These [are] the people of the LORD, and are gone forth out of his land. 21 But I had pity for mine holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the heathen, whither they went. 22 Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I do not [this] for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name’s sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went. 23 And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I [am] the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. 24 For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. 25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.
In verse 16-17 God describes to Ezekiel the defilement of the people of Israel as that of a polluted woman, given to idolatry against her Maker, her husband. For this reason, they were scattered and dispersed, and much worse, but that isn’t the end of the story. Verse 21 says that God is compelled by compassion for His own name to have pity on a people who did not merit His clemency or loving kindness. Man can turn from God and shake their fist in God’s face, but He is immutable and unchanging. Though we deny Him, He will never deny us, nor deny His own nature. God is love and at the end of the matter we will always find the Father moving toward us and toward His people in pity, love and compassion. In verse 23 the Father says that He will sanctify His name which has been profaned among the nations by taking the people from the nations where they have been scattered and bringing them back into their own land.
When we see God bringing the people back into their own land we understand that God is a territorial God. He doesn’t just want a relationship with you – He wants to give you territory. This is natural territory, relationship territory and spiritual territory. He doesn’t give wasted land either. The land God gives you is flowing with milk and honey, abundant beyond all your imagining. Your responsibility is to tend and to keep your territory and to serve the Lord gladly therein, keeping only unto your Maker, your husband-redeemer with all of your heart and soul and being. In spite of monumental failure, and blasphemy, by which the people of God for centuries have polluted the altars of God, His proclamation is to sprinkle them with clean water that they might be clean. What is this water? We know from the New Testament this is more than ritual purification but the cleansing of the water of the word of God in our lives. As Jesus declares – we are clean through the word that He speaks to us.
26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do [them]. 28 And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. 29 I will also save you from all your uncleannesses: and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you. 30 And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen. 31 Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that [were] not good, and shall lothe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations. 32 Not for your sakes do I [this], saith the Lord GOD, be it known unto you: be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel. 33 Thus saith the Lord GOD; In the day that I shall have cleansed you from all your iniquities I will also cause [you] to dwell in the cities, and the wastes shall be builded. 34 And the desolate land shall be tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by. 35 And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities [are become] fenced, [and] are inhabited. 36 Then the heathen that are left round about you shall know that I the LORD build the ruined [places, and] plant that that was desolate: I the LORD have spoken [it], and I will do [it]. 37 Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will yet [for] this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do [it] for them; I will increase them with men like a flock. 38 As the holy flock, as the flock of Jerusalem in her solemn feasts; so shall the waste cities be filled with flocks of men: and they shall know that I [am] the LORD.
Notice the progression of God’s reclamation process. First (v.25) He renders us clean by the washing of the water of the word. Then He gives us a new heart, this is regeneration in the new birth. Then a new Spirit, the baptism of the Holy Ghost. What next, He deals with our flesh, taking away the stony nature of the flesh and giving us a life giving, vital nature originating in His own person, making us new creations in Christ Jesus – a New Species altogether!
Having received of His fullness by virtue of the efficacy of the sacrifice of Christ He causes us to stand upright and to embody the virtues, the statues and judgments that once we were only capable of defiling and transgressing against. When He puts His spirit in us we not only know the truth, but we embody it as the outworking of the nature of a Holy God, establishing Himself IN us and expressing Himself through us. THEN v. 28 tells us there comes to us an assurance and security whereby we will not only have title to the land He promises us, but we will DWELL in it and He will be our God and we will be our people. That word “dwell” means to:
2. To Marry
3. To abide and be established.
4. To be at ease.
5. To be seated, to take and to tarry
This is the portion of all those who not only know Him, but follow on to know Him until the redemption of the purchased possession of Calvary, spirit, soul and body! In this place, available to all those abandoned to Him God promises to multiply us, and increase us and take away our reproach, so fully that we will now longer even remember what it was like to disobey or work evil against our Maker our Husband who betroths Himself to us as the bridegroom to the bride.
To be clear v. 32 tells us that God isn’t doing this for our sakes. For whom does the Father act then? For Jesus’ sake. This is why we pray “in the name of Jesus” because God acts in our defense and pours out His mercies upon us not according to the measure of our own worth, but according to the measure of the value He places upon His only begotten Son. For this reason He promises that our land, our territory, wherever it may be and whatever it may be will become as Eden for the scourge of sin and the mark of the curse is removed in Christ and we step into a magnitude of grace, forgiveness and transformation that beggars the most eloquent words to describe – as Christ, in our hearts, our salvation both NOW and in the world to come!
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