29 August 2008

Be Ashamed – 8.29.08

Ezekiel 36 speaks prophetically of the salvation of the nation of Israel and the relationship they will one day enjoy with their God. When this age has finally run its course, and the Jews have come through that time of tribulation, and Jesus Christ returns to establish His kingdom, all that's spoken of here in Ezekiel 36 will be fulfilled:

  • Israel will be cleansed from its filthiness and idolatry (v. 25).
  • God will give them a new heart (v. 26).
  • God's spirit will cause them to walk in His statues (v. 27).
  • They will dwell safely in the land of promise (v. 28).
  • God will prosper them and cause the ground to bring forth abundantly (vv. 29-30).
  • God will restore the desolate wilderness to Eden-like conditions (vv. 33-35).

Now, let's go back into the middle of that section and take note of a couple things. Ezekiel 36:31-32, Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall lothe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations. Not for your sakes do I this, saith the Lord GOD, be it known unto you: be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel.

According to verse 31, when God turns the captivity of His people and Israel comes into this new-covenant relationship with God, they will reflect on their rebellion and disobedience, and they will lothe themselves for their iniquities and abominations. The memory of their evil ways and their many offenses against the God Who has so richly blessed them will fill their hearts with regret and repentance.

In light of all this prophecy, verse 32 is an admonition given by Ezekiel to the Jews of his day. And the admonition is this – don't think that God is going to bring all these blessings upon the nation because of anything you've done…not for your sakes do I this. It won't be because of your merit; it'll be because of His goodness. It won't be because you've kept your promise; it'll be because He always keeps His.

The latter half of this admonition in verse 32 is what I'd like us to focus on and apply to our lives today – be ashamed and confounded for your own ways. In light of all the many ways that God has blessed us – EVERY good and perfect gift, James 1:17; a daily load of benefits, Psalm 68:19; the unspeakable gift of eternal life, 2 Corinthians 9:15; and the list goes on and on – how can we do anything but what He's asked us to do? Especially when those commandments aren't grievous (1 John 5:3) but for our good (Deuteronomy 10:13)!

And yet how many times do we offend. How often do we rebel and disobey. Even now, your heart and mind may be filled with something abominable in God's sight. Even now, you may be able to put your finger on some area of your life that God absolutely detests. Ought we not to be ashamed and confounded and lothe ourselves for our iniquities?

Have you ever gotten to the place where the goodness of God – in spite of you – brought godly sorrow to your soul and drove you to repentance (Romans 2:4; 2 Corinthians 7:9-10)? May today be that day.

Ezekiel 43:10 Thou son of man, shew…to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities…

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