I was reading Ezekial 36:26, where the Lord says to Israel,
"And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart."
As I read what was before and after that verse, I was struck by a question that’s a good question to ask when reading Scripture: "Lord, what can I learn about who you are from this word?" What I came up with really encouraged my heart, and I hope it encourages yours too.
“Son of man, when the people of Israel were living in their own land, they defiled it by the evil way they lived. To me their conduct was as unclean as a woman’s menstrual cloth. They polluted the land with murder and the worship of idols, so I poured out my fury on them. I scattered them to many lands to punish them for the evil way they had lived." - Ezekial 36:17-19
So the people have been despicable. Yeah, I have been like that too. God was righteously angry.
“Therefore, give the people of Israel this message from the Sovereign Lord: I am bringing you back, but not because you deserve it. I am doing it to protect my holy name, on which you brought shame while you were scattered among the nations. I will show how holy my great name is—the name on which you brought shame among the nations. And when I reveal my holiness through you before their very eyes, says the Sovereign Lord, then the nations will know that I am the Lord." - Ezekial 36:22-23
I will only do what I can do...
"For I will gather you up from all the nations and bring you home again to your land. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols. And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations. And you will live in Israel, the land I gave your ancestors long ago. You will be my people, and I will be your God. I will cleanse you of your filthy behavior. I will give you good crops of grain, and I will send no more famines on the land. I will give you great harvests from your fruit trees and fields, and never again will the surrounding nations be able to scoff at your land for its famines. Then you will remember your past sins and despise yourselves for all the detestable things you did. But remember, says the Sovereign Lord, I am not doing this because you deserve it. O my people of Israel, you should be utterly ashamed of all you have done!" - Ezekial 36:24-32
But there’s no way...this situation is a mess!
“This is what the Sovereign Lord says: When I cleanse you from your sins, I will repopulate your cities, and the ruins will be rebuilt. The fields that used to lie empty and desolate in plain view of everyone will again be farmed. And when I bring you back, people will say, ‘This former wasteland is now like the Garden of Eden! The abandoned and ruined cities now have strong walls and are filled with people!’ Then the surrounding nations that survive will know that I, the Lord, have rebuilt the ruins and replanted the wasteland. For I, the Lord, have spoken, and I will do what I say." - Ezekial 36:33-35
This is who God is. He restores, rebuilds, replants, and revives. There is no desolation, no hopeless case in God’s eyes. Not one. He is about going into the most messed up situations and bringing new life. Read on in Ezekiel 37 and see what He did with the valley of dry bones.
This is who my God is.
He is not limited by my sin.
I am NOT in such a state that God can’t help me.
NO ONE is beyond His help.
He is able to rebuild what was destroyed and turn something that is utterly ravaged and in ruins, into a fruitful, thriving place. The life of one who’s been destroyed by drug abuse; a marriage that has no love left; a heart that’s been broken by betrayal, or a loss so devastating you don’t know where to pick back up and go on; even a Christian who’s lost their way, feels disconnected, and doesn’t know how to get back; even the one who doesn’t know they’ve lost their way. NO ONE is beyond God’s ability to transform.
Spring is the ultimate teacher about this aspect of who God is.
When the ground is cold, hard, and brown, and the trees are barren, sticks in the ground. And then, a short time later, there is so much life coming out of that once barren ground - lushness, green, vibrant life everywhere. Just look at how the Lord brings this beauty into your world again and again! Pay attention to it. He’s showing you who He is, and not just so you can have the best looking lawn in the neighborhood.
I challenge you to read Scripture and not see it. This is the prevailing message throughout. God restores, rebuilds, renews, and YOU are not an exception.
Co-host of Tracey, Steve, and Dave on SHINE-FM.
Co-host of Tracey, Steve, and Dave on SHINE-FM.