Saturday 29 May 2010

Bible Book:

"A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my spirit within you, and make you follow my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances." (v.26-27)

Ezekiel 36:22-28 Saturday 29 May 2010


The prophet Ezekiel was speaking to the people of Israel whowere living in exile in Babylon at the time. He offers a message ofhope in which restoration of good fortune is promised on the basisof God's holy name - not on the people's obedience.

The people might be discouraged in their hopes of a restoration bythe sense of their unworthiness of such a favour, knowing that theyare still corrupt and sinful. But the prophet answers their worrieswith a promise that God would, by God's grace, prepare and qualifythem for mercy and then bestow it on them. God promised to work agood work in them; to qualify them for the good work which would bebrought about for them.

God promised to give the Israelites a new heart: a disposition ofmind excellent in itself and vastly different from what it wasbefore. Here, God promised to make a covenant with the people -they would belong to God, and they would worship God alone. Thecondition is of grace, not of merit or works: "You shall be mypeople; I will make you so; I will give you the nature and spiritof my people, and then I will be your God." Only then they shallreturn to their land.

This passage, therefore, is about the graciousness and grace ofGod. As we consider the descending Spirit we acknowledge the freegrace that comes with it; we receive the life-changing,kingdom-changing power; we recall the nourishment of the living Godand we give thanks, because God, in graciousness, has said that itwill be so.

To Ponder

Throughout this week we have considered thedescending of the Spirit at Pentecost. We have considered theSpirit as the bringer of life and hope. We have recognised theSpirit's gracious, all-embracing nature. What aspect of the HolySpirit most appeals to you? What does that particular emphasis meanfor you if you seek to live a Christian life?

The prophet spoke of hope in an apparentlyhopeless situation. What apparently hopeless situation do you thinkthe modern Church should be speaking hope into? What are you goingto do about it?

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