Monday, September 14, 2015: Ezekiel 36-37; Ps. 110; Rev. 19
24 I will take you from the nations, and gather you from all the countries, and bring you into your own land. 25 I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 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. 27 I will put my spirit within you, and make you follow my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances. 28 Then you shall live in the land that I gave to your ancestors; and you shall be my people, and I will be your God. 29 I will save you from all your uncleannesses, and I will summon the grain and make it abundant and lay no famine upon you. 30 I will make the fruit of the tree and the produce of the field abundant, so that you may never again suffer the disgrace of famine among the nations. 31 Then you shall remember your evil ways, and your dealings that were not good; and you shall loathe yourselves for your iniquities and your abominable deeds. 32 It is not for your sake that I will act, says the Lord God; let that be known to you. Be ashamed and dismayed for your ways, O house of Israel.
We come at long last to words of hope in Ezekiel; great promises of God to Israel – promises of redemption and grace; of restoration and generosity. I don’t know about you, but I have been waiting for this chapter; for these words. I wonder, if I have been so inpatient for the grace of God to be spoken, what could it have been like for Israel?
The imagery is familiar but no less powerful – the transformed heart. A new heart of flesh to replace the heart of stone; a heart that is softened toward God rather than hardened against God’s word. The promise of a new spirit! And then, the ultimate of gifts, “You shall be my people, and I will be your God.” These are words that Israel has heard before, almost always spoken in covenant language.
God is so incredibly gracious – breathtakingly so - always ready (every morning) to receive us back into relationship; to renew God’s Spirit within us; to bend our hearts to our will.
Are you ready to receive God’s promise today?
Remember this imagery - we will be coming back to it one Sunday morning very, very soon!
October 4 is World Communion Sunday! If you are able to recite the Lord's Prayer in a language other than English, would you kindly let me know? I would love to have you participate in the service that morning.