(49 verses, 6:10 to read)
What I am about to READ
God recounts Israel’s past misdeeds and promises to bring them back and sanctify them for his Name’s sake.
MARK and LEARN
Through the prophet Ezekiel, God speaks to the elders of Israel who had come to inquire of Him regarding some unmentioned matter. But God will not be inquired because their hearts are far from him and they do not have faith. They, like their fathers before them had spurned the commandments of God and gone worshiping other gods, even as they claimed to be children of the promise. One cannot worship both the true God and the gods which man creates.
The Lord then recounts to the elders the history of his salvation of Israel since the deliverance from Egypt. He reminds the people that even though those who came out of Egypt defiled themselves, worshiped other gods, sacrificed their children, and transgressed God’s laws, he did not utterly destroy them “for his name’s sake.” He is a God of mercy. But he does not simply ignore sin. Sin must be atoned for.
God reminds the people that the person who performs the law perfectly shall live (vs. 11). But it is also the Lord God who sanctifies, and not the works which we perform (vs. 12).
What are we to make of this? Is God speaking out of both sides of his mouth? He is speaking in terms of Law and Gospel. The Law demands utter obedience. But as the Lord has pointed out, Israel cannot fulfill his side of the bargain. “Moreover, I [God] gave them statutes that were not good and rules by which the could not have life.” (vs. 25). The Law does not give live. God must act. God himself must sanctify.
Verses 33-43 is an exhortation to repentance which is to know and admit fault and want to do better. God will forgive and will gather his people to himself. Vs. 44 is sweet gospel: “And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I deal with you for my name’s sake, not according to your evil ways, nor according to you corrupt deeds, O house of Israel, declares the Lord.”
In the same way, God continues to use the condemnation of the Law and the promises of the Gospel to convert sinners to himself. We are rightly terrified by our sins and brokenness when we hear how we have sinned. God declares sinners to be righteous in the sacrifice of his Son Jesus. That means you! Deo Gratias.
Consider how you daily transgress God’s law and worship other gods, even the good things God has given you! Consider the cost of purchasing your forgiveness as it required nothing less than the very blood of God.
Pr. Brandon Ross
Faith Ev. Lutheran Church