Even as the glory departs . . . the promise remains. For 10+ chapters, though the imagery may be hard to grasp, the message of the prophet Ezekiel has been clear . . . God has hit the wall! The rebellious, adulterous people of His calling will be judged . . . the fury and wrath of God, which they invited through their stiff-necked rejection of Him, will come . . . and the glory of God, which had dwelt in their midst on His holy hill, will leave. Those who loved darkness over light would be consumed by darkness . . . those who desired to be like the nations around them, more than they desired to pursue the kingdom of God offered them, would be scattered among the nations as chattel . . . those who said, “No” to God would, through the judgment poured upon them, come to know that He is the LORD through His divine discipline. And amidst the declaration of wrath to come . . . even as the glory of God withdraws from sin ravaged Jerusalem . . . the promise remains.
Therefore say, “Thus says the Lord GOD: I will gather you from the peoples and assemble you out of the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.” And when they come there, they will remove from it all its detestable things and all its abominations. And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God. (Ezekiel 11:17-20 ESV)
There it is . . . land, seed, and blessing . . . the essence of the promise made to Abraham, the father of Isaac, the father of Israel. Though they would be scattered, though their inheritance would lie in devastated ruin, God would again assemble them to the land of promise. Though, as a nation they rejected the faith of their fathers, becoming prodigal children, at best, and enemies at worst . . . yet, in His sovereign determination, God would restore them, establishing Abraham’s seed, making them again a people, a people whose one and only god is the LORD God. And, this would be through the way of blessing. Not external blessings . . . but a total reworking of the internals . . . a new heart . . . a new spirit . . . a new walk.
The other thing I note is the “I will’s.” I will gather you . . . I will give you the land . . . I will give them one heart . . I will put a new spirit within them . . . I will remove the heart of stone . . . I will give the heart of flesh . . . I will be their God. Not about what they had to do . . . but about what God promises to do.
A bankrupt people . . . a God of eternal riches. A wayward people . . . a God, who sets a GPS programmed for eternity within them. With a debt too great to pay . . . paid in full by the One who, though He was rich, became poor for their sakes . . . emptying out His riches upon the cross . . . cancelling all debt–past, present, and future. Dead in spirit . . . made alive by the Spirit. A people devoid of any ability to power their way into righteous living . . . infused with resurrection power, able to live in newness of life because of over-flowing grace. Not because they deserved it . . . not because they earned it . . . but because the promise remains.
O’ praise God that the promise remains!
He who has begun a good work in the children of faith, has promised to complete that work (Php. 1:6) . . . despite us, sometimes. The blood shed is able to atone for all sin . . . the Spirit given is more than enough to lead us in victory over each battle with the flesh . . . and His grace is sufficient for us to live in the promise while we await the final fulfillment of the promise.
The promise remains . . . it is our confidence . . . it is our hope . . it is our sustaining power. To Him be all glory . . .