God’s people restored again
Published 10:31 am Friday, March 13, 2009
Scripture: Ezekiel 36:21-38
Aim: To instruct the pupil in the prophecy of the return of the Jews to the land of Palestine after they have been taken away in captivity. To show the faithfulness of Jehovah.
Golden Text: “Then the heathen that are left round about you shall know that I the Lord build the ruined places, and plant that that was desolate: I the Lord have spoken it, and I will do it” (Ezekiel 36:36)
In the first part of this chapter (Ezekiel 36:1-15) Ezekiel addresses the land of Palestine (speaking to the mountains and the land itself). He is commanded to prophecy to Israel, who had brought Jehovah to shame by their sins, had been punished by the heathen, and they were now going to return to the land that would be fruitful with vegetation, animals and men.
He had judged Judah for her sins and had sent her people into captivity in Babylon. It appears that some were filled with despair, claiming that they would never be able to return to their beloved “Mountain of Jehovah.” Jehovah answered these claims by having the prophet declare the coming deliverance of Judah back into the land of Palestine.
Next, Ezekiel reminds the people that when they were in their own land, they sinned grievously against Jehovah (vs. 16-17). They were reminded that they were in captivity because of the judgment of Jehovah against their sins (vs. 18-19). Further, they were reminded that they had sinned even further by defamed the name of Jehovah while in captivity (vs. 20). They were a rebellious, sinful people, even in captivity. But Jehovah is faithful to His promises to His people.
I. Jehovah had promised that the captivity would last for 70 years through the prophet Jeremiah. That time was drawing toward a close, and the promise of Jehovah was renewed, even in the face of their sins. Jehovah God is faithful to His promises, and to cleanse His people from their sins. When they are repentant, He forgives and restores. Jehovah reminded them that their sins were not the reason He was going to deliver them back into Palestine (vs. 21-22).
The great thing that has been profaned is the name and veracity of Jehovah God. He had made promises, and He was going to keep them in order that His name may be revered and honored (vs. 22-23, 32). To dishonor the name of Jehovah God is a serious sin with serious consequences.
II. Jehovah was going to deliver and change the people (vs. 24-31). First, He would gather them back to their own land (vs. 24). Also, He would at that time regenerate them, so that they would have a new heart. This regeneration has the element of cleansing from sin (vs. 25). Then it has the element of renewal of spirit (or heart, transformation, vs. 25-26). Jehovah would put His Spirit, the Holy Spirit, into the people, which would constitute a transformation from sinning to living righteously (vs. 27).
III. The results would be that the people would follow and serve Jehovah as He desires (vs. 27-31). First they would keep His commandments and follow His judgments (vs. 27). Second, they would dwell in the land as God’s people with God as their God (vs. 28). Third, their uncleanness and sins would be removed (vs. 29). Fourth, they would be fruitful and not be a reproach to the heathen ever again (vs. 30). Fifth, they would remember their sins and mourn for their sins against Jehovah (vs. 32). In that day, the people will know that Jehovah had cleansed them from their sins (vs. 32-25). The heathen will also know that Jehovah is the Lord God, Who delivered His people, and they will know that Jehovah is the only God!
That is just like Jehovah God, Jesus Christ, to forgive people of their sins and make them over into faithful, obedient servants of Jesus Christ, of God the Father Almighty! He still does!