Growing with God’s Word and Being Renewed by the Holy Spirit
Ezekiel 36:16-38: Israel’s sins caused God’s holy name to be disgraced which led Israel’s enemies to believe that their God was not powerful enough to save them. For the sake of his name, God promises to cleanse Israel of its sins and give the people his Spirit.
[The Sovereign LORD says]: “I will put my spirit in you and will see to it that you follow my laws and keep all the commands I have given you.”
16The Lord spoke to me.17“Mortal man,” he said, “when the Israelites were living in their land, they defiled it by the way they lived and acted. I regarded their behavior as being as ritually unclean as a woman is during her monthly period.18I let them feel the force of my anger because of the murders they had committed in the land and because of the idols by which they had defiled it.19I condemned them for the way they lived and acted, and I scattered them through foreign countries.20Wherever they went, they brought disgrace on my holy name, because people would say, ‘These are the people of the Lord, but they had to leave his land.’21That made me concerned for my holy name, since the Israelites brought disgrace on it everywhere they went.
22“Now then, give the Israelites the message that I, the Sovereign Lord, have for them: What I am going to do is not for the sake of you Israelites, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have disgraced in every country where you have gone.23When I demonstrate to the nations the holiness of my great name—the name you disgraced among them—then they will know that I am the Lord. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken. I will use you to show the nations that I am holy.24I will take you from every nation and country and bring you back to your own land.25I will sprinkle clean water on you and make you clean from all your idols and everything else that has defiled you.26 I will give you a new heart and a new mind. I will take away your stubborn heart of stone and give you an obedient heart.27I will put my spirit in you and will see to it that you follow my laws and keep all the commands I have given you.28Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors. You will be my people, and I will be your God.29I will save you from everything that defiles you. I will command the grain to be plentiful, so that you will not have any more famines.30I will increase the yield of your fruit trees and your fields, so that there will be no more famines to disgrace you among the nations.31You will remember your evil conduct and the wrongs that you committed, and you will be disgusted with yourselves because of your sins and your iniquities.32Israel, I want you to know that I am not doing all this for your sake. I want you to feel the shame and disgrace of what you are doing. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken.”
33The Sovereign Lord says, “When I make you clean from all your sins, I will let you live in your cities again and let you rebuild the ruins.34Everyone who used to walk by your fields saw how overgrown and wild they were, but I will let you farm them again.35Everyone will talk about how this land, which was once a wilderness, has become like the Garden of Eden, and how the cities which were torn down, looted, and left in ruins, are now inhabited and fortified.36Then the neighboring nations that have survived will know that I, the Lord, rebuild ruined cities and replant waste fields. I, the Lord, have promised that I would do this—and I will.”
37The Sovereign Lord says, “I will once again let the Israelites ask me for help, and I will let them increase in numbers like a flock of sheep.38The cities that are now in ruins will then be as full of people as Jerusalem was once full of the sheep which were offered as sacrifices at a festival. Then they will know that I am the Lord.”
Israel’s sins included murder, injustice and worshiping idols. Such sins defiled the land and made it ritually unclean, and God’s holy name was disgraced. How did God punish the people for these sins? What promises does God make concerning restoration? What does God want the people to be reminded of (verses 31, 32)? In what ways have you experienced God’s cleansing?
Lord God, create in me a clean heart and cleanse me of all my sin. Give me an obedient heart and teach me to follow your laws and keep your commands. May all I do and say bring honor to your holy name. Thank you for the gift of your Holy Spirit and for your everlasting love. Amen.
Those in need of spiritual healing
Ezekiel 37:1-28: Ezekiel describes his vision of dry bones coming to life.