God Will Restore Israel

I once heard Dr. Jerry Falwell say, “I have never known God to use a discouraged person.” (Lou Nicholes in Ezekiel - The Exiled Prophet).

Discouragement

The design the elders of Israel was promoting among the people was that being scattered in various nations they should lay aside all their peculiarities and conform to those among whom they lived; but God had told them that this design should not be (v. 32). Now, in these verses, he shows particularly how it should be (vv. 33-44). When the Israelites disobeyed God by refusing to enter the Promised Land the first time God chose to purify the people by forcing them to wander in the wilderness until the entire generation died (Num. 14:26-36) In this passage He promised to purge the nation of its rebellious people again as they cross the vast wilderness from their captivity in Babylon (vv.33-36). The doom that is passed upon them is backed with an oath not to be reversed: “As I live, saith the Lord God” (v. 33), thus and thus will I deal with you. Only those who faithfully obeyed God would be able to return to their land. The purpose of this wilderness judgment was to purge all those who worshiped idols and to restore all those faithful to God.

The phrase “that which cometh into your mind shall not be at all” (v. 32) is an utterance that already looks into the future. First, their judgment at the hand of Babylon will be the means of stopping their idolatry. But it may also have reference to the future day when the Lord will rule with an iron hand, not allowing idolatry of any kind (v. 37). The Israelites had been worshiping idols and giving gifts at the same time (v. 39). They did not believe in their God as the one true God; instead they worshiped Him along with the other gods of the land. Ezekiel tells the elders that the fire of judgment is about to occur. It will be clearly evident that I the Lord have kindled it, and not merely an earthly power (v. 48). But the elders appear not to fully understand, perhaps deliberately so. Ezekiel was exasperated and discouraged (v. 49). Many Israelites were complaining that he spoke only in riddles so they refused to listen.

Application

No matter how exciting my ministry may be I will have moments of discouragement. Instead of feeling like giving up when I become discouraged, I just need to continue doing what God has told me to do. God promises to reward the faithful (Mark 13:13). God’s cure for discouragement may be another assignment in serving others, and in that I may receive the renewal I need.

Ezekiel 20:33-49 (English Standard Version)


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