A new spirit given
Published 10:26 am Friday, February 27, 2009
Scripture: Ezekiel 11:1-21
Aim: To help the pupil understand that God’s workings in Israel included blessings for obedience, but judgment for their sin, after which, Israel would be returned to Palestine and blessed.
Golden Text: “I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 11:19).
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Jerusalem had been conquered by Babylon in 606 B.C. A group of captives were taken to Babylon. Among this group was Daniel and the three Hebrew Children of the Book of Daniel.
In 597 B.C., another group of captives were taken to Babylon. In this group was the youth Ezekiel. Five years later (592 B.C.) Ezekiel prophesied to the Jewish captives in Babylon.
It is important to remember that Jehovah God had sent Israel into captivity because of their persistent sins and idol worship. They were to stay in captivity for 70 years before the Israelites could come back to Jerusalem and Palestine. During this time Jeremiah was prophesying in Jerusalem until the final fall to Babylon. Daniel was in the affairs of state in Babylon. The three Hebrew children were in places of political influence. Ezekiel was prophesying to the Israelites in captivity in Babylon.
The Jewish captives were being told by some of their leaders that the Jews would soon be released because they were God’s people, and He would deliver them from Babylon.
Jeremiah was telling the people in Jerusalem that they must go into captivity for 70 years. Ezekiel came preaching that Israel was under the judgment of God, and they must build their houses and prepare to stay in Babylon until Jehovah would deliver them.
I. Ezekiel was transported back to Jerusalem by the Holy Spirit (Ezekiel 11:1-13). Ezekiel saw the leaders of Jerusalem (25 of them) secretly devising, “mischief, and giving wicked counsel in the city,” causing the people of Jerusalem to defy the will of Jehovah (vs. 1-3).
Ezekiel was told to prophesy against them (vs. 4-12). First, the Lord knows all things of which they were guilty (vs. 5). Second, these men have caused many to be slain in the city (vs. 6). Third, Jehovah was judging them by bring the sword against them (vs. 7-8). He would deliver them into captivity (vs.9-12). After the message, two of the men immediately died (vs. 13).
II. Ezekiel’s message to the captives in Babylon (Ezekiel 11:14-21). First, the leaders have led the people away from following Jehovah (vs. 14-15). Second, the Lord had cast the people out of the land for a season (vs. 16). Third, Jehovah will be with them in captivity (vs. 16). Fourth, Jehovah would gather them from among the foreign nations and return them to Jerusalem (vs. 17). Fifth, Jehovah would take away their sins (vs. 18). Sixth, He would give them a new heart, put His spirit within them (vs. 19). Seventh, the purpose: “That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God” (vs. 20).
Here we have a pattern which Jehovah God had devised for the benefit of all men. All have sinned against God. When a person recognizes his sin and turns away from it (repents) the Lord will forgive him. When he receives Jesus Christ as his Savior, Jehovah puts the Holy Spirit into the heart of the believer, who does the work of regeneration (Titus 3:5). Thus the believer is given a new nature (the new birth). A new motivation is put within the believer to obey the will of God from the heart. A new spiritual relationship is born between the Lord and man. They become His people, and God is truly their God.
Paul informs us that in the dwelling of God the Holy Spirit is proof that we belong to God (Romans 8:9). Has the reader been given the Spirit to live within? Is he, “born again?” Those who repent and believe in Christ will be given the Holy Spirit as a personal companion.