Whew, A Ray of Hope!

My friend, Joanne, calls him "Freaky Zieky" and he certainly is! As I was reading more of Ezekiel's story this morning, I really felt for the man. He's packing bags to go nowhere, digging holes in walls and then crawling through them. He's trembling and shuddering without the aid of zero degree temperatures. I wonder how many laughed at him right to his face?

You have to give the man credit for humble and persistent obedience. It's not everyone who can make a fool of himself on purpose.

In the midst of all the dire predictions of murder, mayhem and mass destruction, all ably illustrated by Ezekiel, the Lord sends an absolute ray of sunshine. Seemingly out of nowhere Almighty God chooses to encourage the people upon whom his judgment has fallen. He took pity on his prophet. Ezekiel was overcome with grief, and God reached down to minister to him (Ezekiel 11:13).

The Lord says: "I will gather you from the nations and bring you back from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you back the land of Israel again" —Ezekiel 11:17, NIV.

Yippee, that sounds great!

But I suspect that what sounded better to Ezekiel's broken heart was not the Lord's promise of a return to the land, but rather his promise that his people would return to him, the God of the land. As the Almighty continues, the real crux of the matter is revealed. The Lord says: "I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God" —Ezekiel 11:19-20, NIV.

I may be dead wrong and guilty of a bad attitude, but I stumble when someone asks me to pray for peace in Israel, for the restoration of the land to the Jews. I'm still waiting for the the heart of stone to become a heart of flesh. Then, and only then, can the land be restored. For that I CAN pray.

As always there is the not-so-subtle reminder that it is God Almighty who changes the heart. And while I haven't been asked lately to do any "Freaky Zieky's" I'm still just an illustrator of his grace and I'm thankful for the encouragement of knowing that God WILL change hearts and restore what sin has so badly damaged.

Comments

  1. Oh yes. The change of the HEART is what should warm our hearts. Thank you for this reminder (and the giggle in your use of my little phrase!)

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  2. Your last line is a thought I hang onto when life seems to go haywire. I agree with Joanne--great reminder.

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