ōHow will God treat His people when He brings them back?
ōWhat does God say He will do to Israelís enemies?
I recently took a leisurely stroll through our yard with a cup of
coffee. It was especially refreshing since I had not done that for weeks. I had
mowed through it a couple of times hardly paying attention to the flowers, the
color, the scenery, the butterflies or bees, just hurrying to get the grass cut
before my next item. This time, though, I purposely and casually walked and
looked around and it restored my soul. Busy, responsible, scheduling, planning,
beginning, answering, watching, preparing, correcting, had displaced me. There
was a need for restoration and I had finally found it.
††††† Israel will too. Judged by
God, pounced upon by her enemies, Israelís collapse, her
demise as a nation, her rebellion and now her destruction had brought a
humiliating end. The enemies God has used to bring her down refused to
recognize her God and instead had ridiculed her, inflicted her and now greedily
possessed her. But God says Israel is due for a walk in
her garden. God says Israel will be restored. Not
all is lost. Times of refreshing are coming. Ezekiel tells us about this in
1. WHEN GOD RESTORES ISRAEL HE WILL JUDGE HER
Ezekiel has already given† a prophecy against Edom (25:12-14) so why
place this here in the midst of a prophesy of Israelís future restoration?
The most likely answer is that part of her restoration is the destruction of
her enemies. Edom is a prototype of all
Israelís enemies. The point
here is not that Edom(
to the west) is judged for her sin generally but specifically it is her
hatred for Israel which in itself is a
sin which God promised to judge (Gen 12:3). Four times God describes this
country as MountSeir which is a
mountainous region similar to Israel. These Edomites descended from Esau and recently joined with the
Babylonians in 585BC in killing Jewish refugees (v 5) and grabbing some of the
land (v 10). God accuses them of (1) deep seated hatred v 5 (2)
slaughter v 5ff (3) taking over the land from both Israel & Judah v
10 (4) envy v 11 (5) blasphemed Israels
God v 13. Here we learn that there are no secrets. God knows everything going
on. Everything that is said. 3 times God remarks that then
they will know that I am the Lord (9, 12, 15). They
will only come to terms with God by means of judgment. Judgment promotes knowledge!
Both Israel and her enemies come
to know God that way! Israel was scattered and Edom disappeared. So their
judgment is part of the restoration of Israel and an example of how
God will judge all of Israelís enemies.
††††† Now God has a message
for the mountains of Israel 36:1. In vs 1-15 God says 5 things to the mountains & valleys of
the land of Israel. He is addressing the
mountains and the rest of the physical land (Deut -12) while we, along
with Israel, can only listen as
bystanders while God addresses this land. Then in 16-21 He speaks to Ezekiel
repeating His reason for scattering Israel best summarized in vs 19. Finally in 22-37 God addresses Israel and says their
restoration is something He is going to do for Himself.
2. THE PHYSICALLAND OF ISRAEL WILL BE RESTORED
God says 5 things here.
(1) God was justified for dispersing His people and leaving them a desolate land vs 3. I take it
that it was their sins that was the good cause for
their judgment tho not specifically mentioned here.
(2) God says it is my nature to restore you vs
4-6. The fire of his jealousy for His people 5 & His just anger toward the
ridicule they now endure and continue to do so.
(3) God says their land will once again will be replenished and
prosperous. The difference between the condemnation of Israels & the condemnation of her enemies is that Israel will be restored and
her people preserved! Her enemies who have plundered, hounded, slandered,
rejoiced over and have had malice will shrivel and disappear.
(4) God says you will see the multiplication of the people of Israelvs
10-14. The people of Israel will flourish. (5)
God says he will remove Israels reproach. The
mockery, humiliation, taunts and scorn they have been forced to endure for
generations will cease vs 13-15. Israel will have prestige
again. This land and her people God guarantees to prosper and it will be a
permanent arrangement. her inheritance as a nation
will be secure and her land will never again be deprived of her children and
future vs 13-14.
3. ISRAELS SINFUL PAST CONTRASTS
STARKLY WITH GODS FUTURE GRACE
In 16-21 God speaks to Ezekiel and repeats His reason for scattering
the people. Their defiling of the land with bloodshed and idolatry had removed
them. There should be mistake about that. They deserved what had happened to
them. But they will not deserve what God is going to do for them! The blackness
of their past will contrast starkly with the light of Godís future grace upon
them. We do not deserve any of Godís grace in our lives either!
4. GOD WILL RESTORE THE NATION BECAUSE HIS CHARACTER IS AT STAKE
The fact of Israelís future restoration
seemed so remote after her fall to Babylon that God placed the
emphasis upon His personal character rather than circumstances as
the basis for the fulfillment he promised. Other nations viewed the sovereign
God thru the actions of Israelvs 22-23. Israel had
no intrinsic value prompting God to act but only His character shown in His
justice when punishing Israel and
in His grace when he restores her. He lists 8 things he will do:
(1) I will cleanse you from filthiness and
idolatry vs 25.
(2) I will give you a new spirit and heart
changing the thinking and motivation† 26.
(3) I will put my Spirit in you providing energy
to obey Gods Word vs 27.
(4) You will live in the land so its not the church or heaven but Millennial kingdom on earth
(5) I will not bring famine on you s the land
will produce abundantly.
(6) You will repent when she recognizes she is
(7) The land will be inhabited, rebuilt,
cultivated like Eden
(8) The nation will multiply like a flock of
people everywhere 37-38.
So Israel will
become an objectlesson of Godís grace to all of the surrounding nations.
point to learn here is that while God is good to those who love him, like He
will be to the restored nation of Israel who
will want to honor God and obey Him when they are restored, the purpose of
creation is not for the creature. The church is not for the believer. God is
not doing the church for us or future restored Israel for
them. That is only the thinking of idolaters. God is doing all he is doing,
including all of this now and in the future, including whatever God is doing in
your life and mine for Himself, for His holy name and for His glory alone! God
is not competing with anyone.