Monday after Jubilate
Scripture: Ezekiel 36:1-15 (NKJV)
36:1 “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.’”
Today’s lesson is two-fold. In the first seven verses we hear of God’s impending judgment on the foreign occupation of the Holy Land. The next eight verses tell of Israel’s restoration to that land from exile. The time of captivity in Babylon will come to an end in God’s time, and His people will return and enjoy the blessings of the Mosaic Covenant. “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.” Prosperity will once again be enjoyed by the children of Israel.
More importantly, they will return with new hearts, knowing they’ve been forgiven by their God. In other words, we have before us another application of God’s Law and Gospel. Israel learned from her captivity that she abandoned her oath of faithfulness to God, and now would return for a new start. That’s how we learn from God’s chastisement. God does not pour His wrath on us for our sin, for that could only be endured by Christ on the cross. Rather, He allows circumstances in our lives to “curb” us—to awaken us when we stray from His path. Always in the right way and at the right time, God disciplines those He loves. Let us give thanks to our God who works all things together for good for those called according to His purpose.
We pray: Oh, that the Lord would guide my ways to keep His statues still! Oh, that my God would grant me grace to know and do His will! (TLH 416:1)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.