Wednesday 08 June 2022

Bible Book:

Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came. (v. 22)

Ezekiel 36:22-28 Wednesday 8 June 2022


Ezekiel was a prophet in exile in Babylon among his fellow exiles from Judah, trying to make sense of what had happened to his people. The very structures and basis of the national religion had been torn apart when the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed and the people transported to Babylon. But now, in these verses, Ezekiel receives a message of renewal and restoration from God. However, this is no easy message of forgiveness and love. Instead, Ezekiel tells us that this will take place because God’s name has been profaned by its association with Israel and God wants to restore God's holy name.

God will do this by restoring the scattered people to their land, sprinkling them with cleansing water, their idols will be taken away and they will be given a new heart and a new spirit. The people are to be given a heart transplant in which their heart of stone will be replaced by a heart of flesh and this new spirit will make the people follow God’s laws and ordinances. A heart of stone is a metaphor of course because the people already have a heart of flesh, but the idea conveys a softness in contrast to the hardness of a stony heart.

There are two other important aspects to this promise of a new heart and spirit. The first is that previously the spirit was only given to leaders such as King David or Moses or individuals for a particular task. Now, in contrast to the reading from Isaiah on Monday, and in line with Joel’s prophecy on Tuesday, it is to be given to all the people so that they can obey God. Secondly, the law is no longer an exterior set of rules and regulations for the people to follow but is instead within each person, offered as a guide so that they can obey God. The consequence of all this will be that the people will live on the land of their ancestors and as it says in verse 28 "You shall be my people and I shall be your God."


To Ponder:

  • In this passage, God desires to act, not because of grace or compassion but concern for the holiness of his name. How do you feel about this?
  • What does it feel like to have God’s spirit within us so that we obey God?
  • Today, is your heart stony or fleshy?
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