Wrapped up Ezekiel this morning. Have read it every year for the past dozen years or so. There’s a lot there. The thought that comes to mind is that it’s an epic. While not a poem per se, it is a long, glorious, often complex, story telling the history of a chosen nation.
From jaw-dropping visions of the glory of God descending upon the earth to heartbreaking scenes of the glory of God departing from the temple, through His prophet God calls out to a rebellious people. As a spurned lover, the heart of God is crushed as He recounts His brides unimaginable, unprecedented unfaithfulness. As a jealous husband, He rebukes the propensities of His beloved’s idolatrous heart and remains determined to share His glory with no one.
And so, there is judgment. Judgment of a wayward people by the sword of the nations around them. And judgment of the nations around them, as their refusal to acknowledge the God of heaven is also weighed in the balance.
But it is also a tale of unfathomable restoration. The promises of God ever in play as God in His faithfulness, mercy, and abounding grace works to redeem, regenerate, and revitalize a people who essentially had become dry bones piled in a dead land.
The ancient covenant revived through a new pledge of a new work. Their hearts would be purged of idol desire. Once hearts of stone, they would be replaced with a new heart, a heart of flesh. Transplanted through an encounter of the divine kind. God’s power itself at work in them through His Spirit given to them. Cleansed from the filth of unfaithfulness. Capable of walking victoriously in His ways. Called afresh to be His people.
Like I said, a lot going on in this epic tale of God’s pursuit of a messed up a people. More than I really get. Likely more than I’ll ever get.
But what grabs me this morning as I wrap up Ezekiel’s prophecy is that, while there are many things I do not understand about this amazing book, there is, in the last words of the last verse of the last chapter, a bottom line that rings out loud and clear.
The circumference of the city shall be 18,000 cubits. And the name of the city from that time on shall be, The LORD Is There.
(Ezekiel 48:35 ESV)
A lot I don’t get about Ezekiel, but this one thing I do get: when all is said and done, the bottom line is that there is a promised dwelling place for God’s people and it will be called Jehovah Shammah, The LORD Is There.
In a sense, that’s all I really need to get, Jehovah Shammah.
One day I will be in a place and The LORD Is There. And even today, whatever place I am in, The LORD Is There.
Because I am His, redeemed with the blood of His Son.
And because He is faithful.
The work He has begun, He will finish. The promises He has made, they will be kept. The hope I cling to, one day–perhaps soon and very soon–surely to be realized.
All because Jehovah Shammah, The LORD Is There.
That’s the bottom line.
By His grace. For His glory.