In the previous article, God promised that something was going to be done (see Ezekiel 36:22-23), although the reason wasn’t to reward righteous behavior that the Israelites had been practicing. So, what is this thing that God is going to do?
In Ezekiel 36:24-30, we learn the answer: God is going to restore His people. Being God, though, this isn’t going to be just some half-hearted or partial restoration. He is going all out: not because the people deserve it, but because of who He is.
After all, God had also made a promise to Abraham (and to others), and His plan to redeem humanity was going to be fulfilled, even if the nation by which it was to be achieved (i.e., Israel) wasn’t always obedient – or even faithful – to Him. In the fullness of time, the Savior (Jesus Christ) was born, but the book of Ezekiel was written several centuries before then, while God was implementing more of His plan through history.
There are several parts of this restoration that God would bring about:
- The people will be brought out of the nations where they are in exile (or fugitives), and will be returned to the promised land. (See verse 24) Even pagans who thought that a god and a country are tied together will see that the real God is really God.
- They will be cleansed from their sins, including idolatry. (See verse 25) It sounds to me here like the idols will be purged from the land, and (per Matthew Henry, a commentator cited below) the people would be returned to righteousness.
- They will be given a new heart, and they will have God’s Spirit to help them do the right thing. (See verses 26-27) Now, I suspect that this was fulfilled in ancient times, but it sure sounds to me like the Holy Spirit’s indwelling presence in the lives of Christians today (as He has has been doing since He was given to Christians shortly after Jesus’ return to Heaven). Through the salvation of Jesus Christ, our spirit is redeemed (like a heart transplant, replacing our sinful spirit with a new one), and we receive the Holy Spirit to guide us, which helps us do the right thing.
- They will be God’s people again. (See verse 28) I’m not sure in what way they were or were not still God’s people while they were in exile, but regardless, it will be crystal clear – to them and to others – that they are God’s people when they are restored.
- And, not only will the people be returned to their land, but the land will be fruitful for them. (See verses 29-30) Since the curse on Adam (see Genesis 3:17-19), it has taken work to grow crops, and – even though work is required when the land is productive [as Matthew Henry reminds us] – sometimes a famine is God’s part of God’s discipline on His people. (Apparently, even the heathen nations around Israel would know that.) However, when God’s people are restored, there will be an abundance.
From this passage, though, let’s take a special look at one verse:
And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.
Ezekiel 36:27 NIV
As one commentary [Asbury] said, “When God restores his people, he forgives, regenerates, sanctifies, and empowers.”
Today, I don’t know where you might be with respect to God. (Some of those who follow this site I know, and others I don’t.) If you feel far away from Him, though, let me tell you that He is ready and waiting for you to return, no matter what you have done in the past (believe me!). If you will accept His offer to come back, with your past, present, and future sins paid for by Jesus Christ’s voluntary sacrifice for you, then your restoration won’t just result in a little change. God doesn’t do things halfway: His restoration is complete!
To return to God, and accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior (or to learn what this means), please contact me or another trusted follower of Jesus. I also encourage you to read Acts 2:22-41 while you wait. I’m praying that, if you haven’t already received it, you will find this perfect restoration today.
From Sunday School lesson prepared for September 11, 2022
- The Lookout, September 11, 2022, © 2022 Christian Standard Media.
- Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
- Matthew Henry Commentary on the Whole Bible (Complete). Matthew Henry. 1706, via BibleGateway.com.
- Asbury Bible Commentary. Copyright © 1992 by The Zondervan Corporation, via BibleGateway.com.