Saturday 18 February 2017

Bible Book:

“I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them; I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh.” (v. 19)

Ezekiel 11:14-25 Saturday 18 February 2017

Psalm: Psalm 107:33-43


It seems that the role of a prophet in the Old Testament oftenhas two aspects. The first is to make warnings of judgements ifthings carry on as they are; the second is to offer hope and newlife coming out of the midst of the judgements. In this passage weclearly see Ezekiel's message moving towards hope and new life.

However, these verses start with Ezekiel responding to theaccusation that those who have been taken into exile are no longerGod's people and that only those who remain in the holy city areGod's people. Ezekiel denies this saying that God has been asanctuary and that God would restore them back to the land ofIsrael (verses 16-17).

This promise of restoration in the land of Israel reminds us ofthe Exodus story of the Israelites when they were led by Moses.Just as God made a new covenant with the people in the midst ofthis process, so Ezekiel speaks of a new covenant between God andthe people. However, the laws will not be written on stone butinstead placed on hearts of flesh.

It would be easy to jump to Christian conclusions about this newcovenant before we have considered how Ezekiel's hearers would haveheard it and the only similar example is that of Saul when he wasanointed as King of Israel (1Samuel 10:9). At the moment that this happened we are told hewas given a new heart and that God's spirit came upon him.

Given what happened to Saul this is perhaps not the bestexample, but we should notice that according to Ezekiel this newheart and spirit inhabiting God's people is now not just for kingsbut for all the people (as long as they were not idolaters),including the exiles gathered back into Israel. Ezekiel's vision islimited just to the people of Israel, but for a man in his contextand time, his vision was as broad as perhaps it could havebeen.

To Ponder

  • Ezekiel's vision was very wide for a man of his time in regardto who were God's people. Who do you say are God's people?
  • The Pope recently implied that President Trump is not aChristian because he spoke about building walls. Who do you say are not God'speople? And why?
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