Saturday, April 2, 2016

Ezekiel prophesies that God will Give New Hearts for Old (Ezekiel 11:16-20)

This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Although I sent them far away among the nations and scattered them among the countries, yet for a little while I have been a sanctuary for them in the counties where they have gone… I will gather you from the nations and bring you back from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you back the land of Israel again. They will return to it and remove all its vile images and detestable idols. I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God
(Ezekiel 11:16-20,

The people of Israel had a long history of rejecting the Lord. God sent judges and prophets to warn them and foreign kings to punish them. And they reformed… for a while. When the threat was gone, Israel always fell back into their old patterns of sin.

Now in exile, the people finally understood what they had done. But could they ever get back again? Could they reform themselves enough that God would have them again?

The answer, of course, was no. Sinful people cannot improve or clean themselves up well enough to be received by God. But as God revealed thru the prophet Ezekiel, it doesn’t start with us. Even when His people were under punishment, God was “a sanctuary for them.” He will gathered up the scattered and brought them home again. Most important, He will changed them from the inside. He will gave them undivided hearts of flesh to replace their cold, dead hearts of stone. God, do this to us.

We can’t reform ourselves either. We don’t have to. God gives us new hearts in Christ, calls us His children, and brings us home. God, do this to me. Amen.

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