Thursday 26 January 2012

Route 66 Through The Year: Ezekiel 36:16-37:14

Spring Harvest’s ‘Route 66 Through the Year’ is designed to take readers on a tour through each of the 66 books of the Bible over the course of a year, with each day’s reading featuring a short passage and comment written by a variety of Spring Harvest speakers.

I have contributed notes for this week on Ezekiel, looking today at 36:16-37:14.

Read: Ezekiel 36:16-37:14

As soon as the news of Jerusalem’s fall comes through to the exiles in Babylon (33:21), Ezekiel’s message shifts from threats of judgment to promises of restoration.

Throughout chapters 33-39, he envisages a return to a repopulated and fruitful land, freedom from enemy harassment, and the benefit of the wise reign of a king from the line of David, who will be a good shepherd to the people.

But something more fundamental even than these things is required. At the heart of God’s promises is the restoration of the people themselves which God himself will bring about, as he pledges to cleanse his people and give them a new heart and a new Spirit (36:25-27). This inward renewal is confirmed to Ezekiel in a powerful vision (ch. 37), showing how God can bring piles of dry bones together, put flesh on them, and breathe his Spirit into them – just as he did with Adam at creation (Genesis 2:7), just as Jesus would do for his disciples (John 20:22).

The words ‘You will be my people, and I will be your God’ (36:28) express in a concise formula the covenant relationship between God and his people. They also provide a powerful reminder of God’s initiative and love for us in bringing hope out of despair, life out of death.

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