Monday after Jubilate
Scripture: Ezekiel 36:1-15 (NKJV)
1 “And you, son of man, prophesy to the mountains of Israel, and say, ‘O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord! 2 Thus says the Lord God: “Because the enemy has said of you, ‘Aha! The ancient heights have become our possession,'”‘ 3 therefore prophesy, and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Because they made you desolate and swallowed you up on every side, so that you became the possession of the rest of the nations, and you are taken up by the lips of talkers and slandered by the people”— 4 therefore, O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord God! Thus says the Lord God to the mountains, the hills, the rivers, the valleys, the desolate wastes, and the cities that have been forsaken, which became plunder and mockery to the rest of the nations all around— 5 therefore thus says the Lord God: “Surely I have spoken in My burning jealousy against the rest of the nations and against all Edom, who gave My land to themselves as a possession, with wholehearted joy and spiteful minds, in order to plunder its open country.”‘
6 “Therefore prophesy concerning the land of Israel, and say to the mountains, the hills, the rivers, and the valleys, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I have spoken in My jealousy and My fury, because you have borne the shame of the nations.” 7 Therefore thus says the Lord God: “I have raised My hand in an oath that surely the nations that are around you shall bear their own shame. 8 But you, O mountains of Israel, you shall shoot forth your branches and yield your fruit to My people Israel, for they are about to come. 9 For indeed I am for you, and I will turn to you, and you shall be tilled and sown. 10 I will multiply men upon you, all the house of Israel, all of it; and the cities shall be inhabited and the ruins rebuilt. 11 I will multiply upon you man and beast; and they shall increase and bear young; I will make you inhabited as in former times, and do better for you than at your beginnings. Then you shall know that I am the Lord. 12 Yes, I will cause men to walk on you, My people Israel; they shall take possession of you, and you shall be their inheritance; no more shall you bereave them of children.”
13 ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Because they say to you, ‘You devour men and bereave your nation of children,’ 14 therefore you shall devour men no more, nor bereave your nation anymore,” says the Lord God. 15 “Nor will I let you hear the taunts of the nations anymore, nor bear the reproach of the peoples anymore, nor shall you cause your nation to stumble anymore,” says the Lord God.'”
The Lord is truly merciful. He takes care of His people throughout the ages with His mighty hand. And it is not a matter of whether or not they ever deserve it: He cares for His people because of His grace and mercy. He desires to bless mankind, but He does so according to His will and His wisdom, not the will of men.
He upholds His people because in them He has chosen to do His works. Through the ages, He has given His Words and His promises to His people. He helps individuals and directs the fate of nations. But again, He does so because of His holy will, not the merit or worthiness of any particular individuals or nations. He works through man so that He can help mankind, according to His infinite wisdom.
His people bore the consequences of man’s rebellion and sins. Israel was not innocent, but neither would He ignore the sins of other nations against them. God Himself would come to us through the people of Israel, and bear the consequences of mankind’s rebellion and sin. He bore the suffering and death that we heaped upon Him, and by His innocent death He atoned for all our wickedness. But that does not mean He ignores man’s obstinate rejection and the violence that comes from the faithless. There are still consequences for those who reject Him and His holy Word and work in Christ. But there is also mercy for His repentant and faithful people
We pray: Lord God, make us truly repentant of our wickedness against You and Your holy will. Grant us true faith in the holy death and resurrection of Christ, our Lord, for the salvation of our souls. Amen.