Today’s Scripture Reading: Ezekiel 34:1 through Ezekiel 36:38
“Dianne, I’m going to bless you but you don’t deserve it!” Ouch! Those words could sure take the fun out my blessing.
As a parent I’m sad to say that I must have said that to my kids at some point, but hearing it from God, now that’s another story…
Things are looking up for the Israelites, God says He’s bringing them back to their home land; they will be coming home soon (36:8)!
- I care about you (v. 9)
- I will pay attention to you (v.9)
- Your ground will be plowed and your crops planted (v.9)
- I will greatly increase the populations of Israel (v.10)
- The ruined cities will be rebuilt (v.10)
- I will increase your people and your animals (v.11)
- I will make your more prosperous than you were before (v.11)
Just think about it, the Israelites are in exile in Babylon, thinking they’re never going home, when Ezekiel shares the good news with them. Surely the celebration plans were already beginning when Ezekiel tells them the sobering reason they are going home—
Therefore, give the people of Israel this message from the Sovereign Lord: I am bringing you back, but not because you deserve it. I am doing it to protect my holy name, on which you brought shame while you were scattered among the nations. I will show how holy my great name is—the name on which you brought shame among the nations. And when I reveal my holiness through you before their very eyes, says the Sovereign Lord, then the nations will know that I am the Lord. (Ezekiel 36: 22-23 emphasis mine)
“God, you mean it’s not about me?”
“Lord, You would bless me to protect Your Holy Name?”
“Lord, You would bless me so that others would know that You are the Lord?”
What would happen if our prayers, our desires, our priorities, our time, talent, and treasure were all about glorifying the Name of the Lord and causing others to know Him?
We would be world-changers; not frustrated, burned-out, tired,
How do we stop the “selfishness train” to nowhere and get on the “it’s all about Him rocket-ship” to a life that makes a difference for the Kingdom?
Ask God to do what he promised to do for the Israelites:
And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations. –Ezekiel 36:26-27
Heavenly Father, in my natural unholy state, I am a disgrace to Your Name, but because of Your Son, Jesus Christ I can have a new heart and a new spirit. I can be holy, tender and responsive to Your Spirit so that Your Name will be glorified and others will know You more. Help me walk in that confidence today! Lord, I don’t deserve it but bless me for the honor of Your Name.
In Jesus’ Name. Amen and Amen!
© 2012 Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Ezekiel 37:1 through Ezekiel 39:29; Ezekiel 32:1-16