Learning from Ezekiel 35-42
35:1-15 - ‘You will be desolate, O Mount Seir, you and all of Edom. Then they will know that I am the Lord’ (15). The people of Edom knew the Lord as their Judge. There is a much better way of knowing the Lord. We can know Him as our Saviour. Those who refuse to come to Jesus Christ, trusting in Him as Saviour, place themselves under God’s judgment. They are ‘condemned already because they have not believed in the Name of God’s one and only Son’. They will know the Lord as their Judge - but they could have known Him as their Saviour if they had submitted to God’s saving purpose for their lives: ‘God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him’ (John 3:17-18). Each of us must choose. Do you know Christ as Saviour, or will you face Him as Judge?
36:1-38 - ‘I will look on you with favour’ (9). Through Christ our Saviour, God looks upon us with favour. Here are some words which will help you to rejoice in the ‘wonderful grace of Jesus’ which is ‘greater than all my sin’, the ‘wonderful grace of Jesus’ which ‘reaches me’. ‘Let me introduce you to a friend called Grace. Doesn’t care about your past or your many mistakes. He’ll cover your sins in a warm embrace. Let me introduce to a friend called Grace’. ‘His grace reaches lower than your worst mistake and His love will run further than you can run away’. ‘He believes in lost causes when common sense would just give up. He believes in lost causes and changes people with His love. There’s nobody too far gone, no one beyond His reach. He believes in lost causes ‘cause He believed in me’. Let Jesus be your Joy!
37:1-28 - It was ‘a valley of dry bones’ (1-2). Then, the Lord changed everything - ‘I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live’ (5). What a difference the Lord makes! ‘Breathe on me, Breath of God. Fill me with life anew’ (Church Hymnary, 103). What happens when the Spirt of the Lord breathes new life into the Church of God? - ‘The Church that seemed in slumber has now risen from its knees and dry bones are responding with the fruits of new birth’. ‘Holy Spirit, we welcome You. Let the breeze of Your presence flow that Your children here might truly know how to move in the Spirit’s flow... Holy Spirit, we welcome You. Please accomplish in us today some new work of loving grace, we pray. Unreservedly, have Your way. Holy Spirit, we welcome You’ (Mission Praise, 274,241).
38:1-23 - We read here of God’s judgment upon ‘Gog from the land of Magog’: ‘When Gog attacks the land of Israel, My hot anger will be aroused... I will execute judgment upon him...’ (1,18,22). The names ‘Gog and Magog’ are also found in Revelation 20:7-10. There, we read of rebellion against God - ‘They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people...’ - and God’s judgment - ‘Fire came down from heaven and consumed them’. In this divine judgment upon ‘Gog and Magog’, we see the Lord’s final triumph over ‘Satan’: ‘The devil who had deceived Gog and Magog was thrown into the lake of fire and sulphur’ to be ‘tormented day and night for ever and ever’. ‘Hallelujah! Our Lord God Almighty reigns’ (Revelation 19:6).
39:1-29 - Gog’s defeat points forward to Satan’s final defeat (1-6; Revelation 20:10). We look ahead to God’s final victory over Satan. While we’re here on earth, we must never forget that Satan is a very powerful enemy. He will do all that he can to make us sin against the Lord. We see this in the life of God’s people, Israel. They allowed Satan to get the upper hand - and God was not pleased with them: ‘The nations shall know that the people of Israel went into captivity for their sin, because they were unfaithful to Me’(23). God’s Word assures us that - even when Satan has gained the upper hand - , we can be ‘brought back’ to the place of blessing. God will ‘have mercy’ on us. He will ‘pour out His Spirit’ upon us (25,29). ‘Restore us, O God...’ (Psalm 85:4).
40:1-49 - God was revealing Himself to Ezekiel. ‘The hand of the Lord was upon’ him. He received ‘visions of God’ (1-2). Ezekiel was not to keep this revelation to himself: ‘Tell the house of Israel everything you see’ (4). We are to learn from ‘the prophets who spoke in the Name of the Lord’. Like them, we are to seek to bring ‘sinners’ back to the Lord, showing them ‘the error of their ways’ and pointing them to God’s way of salvation. This work is to be done prayerfully, never forgetting that ‘the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective’ (James 5:10,16,19-20). God promises great blessing to those who are faithful in this work of winning others for Him: ‘Those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars for ever and ever’ (Daniel 12:3).
41:1-42:20 - ‘This is the Most Holy Place’ (41:4). Here, God is speaking about the Temple. The Temple was the place where God’s people were to gather together to worship Him. There is another ‘holy place’, another place where God is to be glorified: ‘Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit... Glorify God in your body’ (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). We worship God when we are in the place of worship. That is only a part of our worship. Our heart is to be a ‘holy place’ where God alone is worshipped. We are to worship Him in everything we do: ‘Be holy in all you do’. At the heart of our worship, there is thanksgiving for God’s love. At the heart of the holy life, there is love. We ‘obey the truth’ when we ‘love one another deeply from the heart’ (1 Peter 1:15-16,22).